Broadcast Station License Period Laws

Written by Attorney Joe Irby

How long does my license last?

Once a broadcast station goes through the arduous process of obtaining a license, it is allowed to broadcast in accordance with the FCC’s regulations. Although the process is cumbersome, it is something that must be done and repeated. Remember, the FCC’s underlying goal is to “serve the public.” If the FCC feels this is not being done, they may take remedial actions to achieve this purpose.

Every so often, a broadcast station is required to renew their license to broadcast. The duration of the license period is laid out in 47 CFR 73.1020.

All broadcast stations are typically licensed for a period of eight years.

If the FCC feels that the public interest will be better served by granting a broadcaster a shorter license period, they may do so.

If a station, for a period of 12 consecutive months, fails to broadcast a signal during its license period, the license will expire at the end of the 12 month period.

Although this is the simple guide, these are the primary guide-posts regarding the length of time a station will be licensed for, as well as a few reasons the license may prematurely “expire.”

This post is part of a series of posts on Radio Station & Broadcast Law: 47 CFR 73 – 74 & More

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