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Radio Regulation

Radio broadcasting is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  FM and AM stations, noncommercial radio stations, amateur radio communications, and low-power broadcast stations are governed by the rules in Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

Title 47 is applicable to all broadcast radio communication.  Regulations as to how broadcast radio antennas are constructed, marked and lit are enumerated in Title 47.   Broadcast radio antennas are regulated. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) falls into the regulations in Title 47. Regulations also include the rights for both broadcast employees and customers with disabilities and the responsibilities and conduct for radio communications employees.  

Title 47 also contains regulations for AM radio. The regulations describes station classifications that determine what frequencies stations broadcast on and how much power a station can use in its broadcasts.   Regulations with respect to antenna height, direction of signal, and location of the transmitter are also included.  Operating power and type and height of tower of FM stations, the distance between FM stations transmission of stereophonic sound are also regulated.  FM stations are prohibited form broadcasting signals directly into a place of business of a subscriber. 

Low power stations also require license from the FCC.  Unlicensed operation of radio broadcast including low power stations is prohibited by the FCC

There are regulations for amateur radio or ham radio regarding licensing requirements, the frequency that the station broadcasts on and the bandwidth allotted.  An amateur radio operator must successfully complete the FCC exam for ham radio operators. 

There are federal laws which prohibit airing of obscene programs at any time and airing of indecent programs or profane language during certain hours. The FCC has also established rules for reducing broadcasting interference.

Inside Radio Regulation