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A radio broadcast license is a specific type of spectrum license which provides the licensee with the privilege to use a part of the radio frequency spectrum in a particular geographical area for broadcasting purposes.  Licensing is performed by government agencies, providing a mechanism both for managing the limited resource of radio frequency spectrum and for implementing prevailing public policies regarding concentration of media ownership.  The licensing of a radio broadcasting station in the US is vested with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Radio broadcast license specifically includes the information such as:

  • exact latitude and longitude
  • carrier frequency and bandwidth
  • modulation types
  • effective radiated power
  • height above average terrain
  • directional antenna radiation pattern
  • operating hours
  • transmitter power output
  • broadcast auxiliary services
  • radio antenna brand and model
  • backup facilities
  • additional service authorizations related to subcarriers, and digital radio
  • radio format or genre of programming

Licensing of radio broadcasting varies in accordance with radio band signals, such as digital and analog, narrowband and broadband.  Management of such technical specifications in radio broadcast licensing is part of FCC.

Broadcast licenses are supposed to be renewed by FCC if the radio station meets the “public interest, convenience, or necessity.”   TheFCC generally renews radio station licenses automatically by state or groups of states at two-month intervals over a three-year period.  A radio station must file its application ninety days before the license renewal date.

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