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For a one week period this October, the FCC will be taking applications from community groups seeking to be issued a full power, non-commercial radio license.  These licenses are available in limited numbers and only in areas with open bandwidth on the radio dial.  Also, these licenses will only available for non-profit, community radio stations.  The window for applying is only one week, from October 12th through the 19th, and this opportunity for full power licenses is a fairly rare event.

Starting a radio station is not a simple undertaking.  The application process in and of itself is quite complicated and expensive.  While filing the actual application is free, a group will most likely have to hire a radio engineer and telecommunications lawyer to gain the appropriate information required to make the application successful.  And of course, setting up an actual station with all the necessary equipment can cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Help is available to groups that want to pursue a license.  Freepress.net has set up a webpage called getradio.org that contains much of the information required for interested groups.  Also, Prometheus Radio Project has a page on their website entitled "Full Throttle" that outlines what groups need to do to apply.

Earlier this decade, the FCC was issuing a limited number of low power FM licenses in various communities, with low power being defined as anywhere from 10 to 100 watts.  This current license deal is for full power stations, ranging anywhere from 100 to 100,000 watts, depending on the area. Just to give people an idea of what these wattage ratings mean, this station, WYCE operates at about 7000 watts and reaches a radius of about 25 miles. Now, most of the areas available for these current licenses are going to be more rural, outside of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the US.  If people are interested in which areas are available, both the Freepress.net and Prometheus Radio WebPages have a search feature that will provide information on area availability.


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