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FM Coverage

  • The results of this study indicate that 264,831,059 persons, 94.1 percent of the U.S. population based on 2000 census data, receive at least one public radio FM signal at or above the 60dBu level.

  • This represents an increase of nearly 70,000,000 from the 1989 study, which reported 195,164,000 persons covered, or 86 percent of the U.S. population based on the 1980 census.

  • The population receiving at least one public radio signal at or above the 70 dBu level numbers 238,972,772, or 84.9 percent of the 2000 census total population of 281,421,906.

  • The almost 239 million people who receive the stronger 70 dBu signal represent 90 percent of the 264 million people who receive public radio nationally.  Only 26 million people, or 10 percent of the people who can receive public radio, rely on the weaker 60 dBu signal.

  • Without exception, the percentage of population covered by public radio increased in each of the 50 states.

  • The new study reveals that 38 states and the District of Columbia have coverage above 90 percent, compared to 13 states and DC in 1989.  The District of Columbia has 100 percent coverage, as it did in 1989.

  • In 1989, there were 13 states with coverage below 80 percent.  The 2004 study shows that the coverage rates in only three states are below 80 percent.  Of those three, the lowest is Arkansas with 73.1 percent coverage.  In 1989, Wyoming had the lowest coverage at 47 percent.  Wyoming had the largest increase in percentage, moving from 47 percent to 90.8 percent.

  • There are nine states which have coverage rates between 80 and 90 percent. 

  • We have not calculated the number of people who can receive more than one public radio signal.

  • Almost 400 new FM stations were activated during the period since the 1989 study.  The number of FM stations providing public radio service increased by 83 percent, from 476 in 1989 to 875 currently.
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