Commercial AM/FM Radio

According to the “M Street Radio Book,” over three thousand of the nearly fourteen thousand free, local, AM/FM stations in the U.S. operate “niche” formats like religious teaching (Spanish and English), gospel, classical and ethnic.  Of these, more than half are classified by the FCC as “noncommercial.”

Commercial and Noncommercial stations have licensing requirements that are different  from each other:   Generally speaking, Commercial stations pay higher fees for music royalties than do Noncommercial stations, but that gap is narrowing.  When one adds in Internet streaming music royalties, the gap gets even narrower.  To add to this complexity, some commercially licensed stations that operate non-commercially are often required by the P.R.O.s to show proof that they are ”noncommercial educational licensees” under the FCC  (see qualification information in  Noncommercial NRBNMLC.)