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  State population (2000 census) 1,048,319  
  Population receiving a FM public radio signal 912,742 87.1%
  (from both in and out-of-state stations)    
  Population in uncovered FM areas  135,577    
  Stations in State FM stations 0  
    FM translators 0  
    AM stations 2  
  1989 PTFP Study: Population receiving a    
    FM public radio signal 760,000  80%

Broadcast Coverage Maps

FM Stations - Detail         FM Stations - Printable

AM Stations - Detail         AM Stations - Printable

Public Radio Stations in State

Main stations in bold followed by associated repeaters and translators
Facilities in italics operated by out‑of‑state broadcasters
Location in ( ) - actual location of transmitting facilities
N - New facility since 1989 study     # - Station now meets study criteria

FM Stations


AM Stations

General Comments

Rhode Island is the only state in the nation without a public FM station broadcasting from within its borders.  Signals from FM stations in adjoining states provide public radio service to most of Rhode Island.  Two public AM stations also provide public radio programming to most of the state.

In 1985, PTFP funded a study by the Rhode Island Public Telecommunications Authority which found that no FM frequencies were available for public, non-commercial stations.  There is no indication that the situation has changed. 

FM Service

FM Service is received from stations in Connecticut and Massachusetts.  The percentage of the population receiving an out-of-state public FM radio signal increased from 80% in 1989 to 87% currently.  The number of Rhode Island residents not receiving a public radio FM signal decreased from 187,000 to 135,577.  

AM Service

Rhode Island is served by two public AM radio stations that are operated by WBUR Boston.  WRNI(AM) 1290 kHz Providence is a 10 kW station that broadcasts 24 hours a day from studios in Providence.  WXNI(AM) 1230 kHz, a 1 kW repeater, re-broadcasts the WRNI(AM) program service in Westerly, located in the southwest corner of the state near the Connecticut border.  The WBUR group acquired the stations in 1999 and 2000 to provide the first local Rhode Island public radio service.  The southern part of the state also receives public AM service from New York City.

Service from Adjacent States

Western Rhode Island receives public radio service from the Connecticut Public Radio transmitter in Norwich.  The remainder of the state receives public radio from several stations in Boston, Massachusetts.   As noted, the southern part of the state also receives public AM service from New York City.

Unserved Areas

Region A

The terrain in northern Rhode Island is characterized by rolling hills which prevent about 21,000 residents of Providence County and almost 21,000 residents of Kent County from receiving a FM public radio signal.  These residents can receive AM public radio service from WRNI.

Region B

The largest unserved population in the state, about 90,000 residents, is found along the coastline in Washington County (52,000) and Newport County (38,000).  These people can receive AM public radio service from WRNI or WXNI.

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