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Origin of the Present Study

Under PTFP’s authorizing statute (47 U.S.C. §390) and its Rules (15 C.F.R. §2301.1(a)), PTFP’s top priority is to “extend delivery of public telecommunications services to as many citizens in the United States as possible by the most efficient and economical means, including the use of broadcast and nonbroadcast technologies.”   In the course of doing research for this study, NTIA found that PTFP has funded the activation or coverage expansion of over 550 full-power FM stations, repeater stations, translators and Low-Power FM stations since the 1989 study.  Many additional facilities have been established without PTFP support. 

There has been dramatic growth in the number of public radio stations.  Indeed, the 875 full power FM stations, 59 AM stations and 739 translators included in this study are more than twice the number included in the 1989 study.  At the time of this report, 94.1% of the population could receive at least one public radio station.  While relatively few areas contain more than a single public television station, public radio provides multiple services to many communities throughout the country.  In addition, while virtually all public television stations are known to and receive operational support from the CPB, public radio stations may be affiliated with CPB, NFCB, NPR or any combination of the three organizations.  Some public radio stations are unaffiliated with any of these groups.

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