This is a list of broadcast station classes applicable in much of North America under international agreements between the United States, Canada and Mexico. Effective radiated power (ERP) and height above average terrain (HAAT) are listed unless otherwise noted.

All radio and television stations within 320 kilometers (about 200 miles) of the US-Canada or US-Mexico border must get approval by both the domestic and foreign agency. These agencies are Industry Canada/Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in Canada, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the US, and the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) in Mexico.

AM

Station class descriptions

  • A (formerly I) — clear-channel stations — 10 kW to 50 kW day and night (Class I-N stations are only assigned to the non-conterminous United States, and then with a minimum power of 10 kW (and a maximum power of 50 kW) and Class B efficiency (although higher efficiency is acceptable). Class A stations are only protected within 750 miles radius of the transmitter site. Most former Class I-As are omnidirectional, though some do operate (or have operated) directional arrays; additionally, most former Class I-Bs are directional at night, although a few are also directional during days, and a very few operate omnidirectionally during all hours (these last cases being former Class I-As which were subsequently reduced to Class I-Bs but retained their Class I-A facilities).
  • B (formerly II and III) — 250 W to 50 kW (a maximum of 10 kW days and a maximum of 1 kW nights, non-directionally, on 1610 kHz to 1700 kHz, but several expanded band stations operate DA-N or even DA-2 with up to 10 kW during all hours, after providing proof in the form of engineering data which shows that other co- or adjacent-channel expanded band stations would not be precluded by such DA or 10 kW night operations (most of these exceptions are located on the coasts, not inland). If under 250 W at night, the antenna must be efficient enough to radiate more than 140.82 mV/m at 1 km. With a 225 degree non-sectional radiator (efficiency of about 440 mV/m/kW at 1 km) it is possible to achieve 140.82 mV/m at 1 km with an input power of 160 watts.
  • C (formerly IV) — Usually 1 kW 24 hours (also grandfathered 100 and 250 W). Rare Class Cs operate with directional arrays, such as KYPA and KHCB.
  • D (formerly II-D, II-S, III-S) — Daytime 250 W to 50 kW, nighttime under 250 W or off-air, field strength up to 140 mV/m (millivolts per meter) at 1 km, no new stations except downgraded B. A Class D station is not protected from any co-channel interference at nighttime (if it has any night power authorized).
  • TIS/HARtravelers' information stations / highway advisory radio stations — Up to 10 W transmitter output power (TISs at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport were authorized up to 50 watts transmitter power). Stations within US national parks are licensed by NTIA and not the FCC.
  • Unlicensed broadcasting — (see low-power broadcasting) — 100 mW DC input to final amplifier with a 3-meter maximum length radiator, no license needed, may be measured at edge of campus for school stations

Notes:

  • In the Western Hemisphere (ITU region 2), medium wave AM broadcasts are on channels spaced 10 kHz apart from 530 kHz to 1700 kHz, with certain classes restricted to subsets of the available frequencies.
  • With few exceptions, Class A stations can be found only on the frequencies of 540 kHz, 640 to 780 kHz, 800 to 900 kHz, 940 kHz, 990 to 1140 kHz, 1160 to 1220 kHz, and 1500 to 1580 kHz. The exceptions are cited in relevant international treaties.
  • While US and Canadian Class A stations are authorized to operate at a maximum of 50,000 watts day and night (and a minimum of 10,000 watts at night, if grandfathered), certain existing Mexican Class A stations, and certain new Cuban Class A stations are authorized to operate at a higher power. Certain Mexican Class A stations are authorized to operate at less than 50,000 watts at night, if grandfathered, but may operate at up to 100,000 watts during the day.
  • Class B and D stations can be found on any frequencies from 540 kHz to 1700 kHz except where frequencies have been reserved for Class C stations.
  • Class C stations can be found in the lower 48 US states on the frequencies of 1230 kHz, 1240 kHz, 1340 kHz, 1400 kHz, 1450 kHz, and 1490 kHz (commonly known as "graveyard" frequencies). Other countries may use other frequencies for their Class C stations.
  • Canada also defines Class CC (Carrier Current, restricted to the premises) and LP. (less than 100 watts)
  • TIS stations can be found on any frequency from 530 kHz to 1700 kHz in the US, but may only carry non-commercial messages without music. There is a network of TISs on 1710 in New Jersey.
  • Low-power AM stations located on a school campus are allowed to be more powerful, so long as their signal strength does not exceed roughly 14 to 45 µV/m (microvolts per meter) (depending on frequency) at a distance of 30 meters (98.4 ft) from campus.

Former system

AM station classes were previously assigned Roman numerals from I to IV in the US, with subclasses indicated by a letter suffix. Current class A is equivalent to the old class I; class B is the old classes II and III, with class D being the II-D, II-S, and III-S subclasses; and class C is the old class IV.

The following conversion table compares the old AM station classes with the new AM station classes:

Old Domestic Station ClassNew Domestic Station Class
IA
IIB
IIIB
IVC
II-SD
III-SD
II-D
(Daytime Only)
D

AM station classes and clear channels listed by frequency

The following chart lists frequencies on the AM band, and which classes broadcast on these frequencies; Class A and Class B, 10,000 watt and higher (full-time) stations in North America which broadcast on clear-channel station frequencies are also shown.

By international agreement, Class A stations must be 10,000 watts and above, with a 50,000 watt maximum for the US and Canada, but no maximum for other governments in the region. Mexico, for example, typically runs 150,000 to 500,000 watts, but some stations are grandfathered at 10,000 to 20,000 watts at night; by treaty, these sub-50,000 watt Mexican stations may operate with a maximum of 100,000 watts during the daytime.

Because the AM broadcast band developed before technology suitable for directional antennas, there are numerous exceptions, such as the US use of 800 (kHz) and 900 non-directionally in Alaska, limited to 5 kW at night; and 1050 and 1220, directionally, in the continental US, and without time limits; each of these being assigned to specific cities (and each of these being Mexican Class I-A clear channels). In return for these limits on US stations, Mexico accepted limits on 830 and 1030 in Mexico City, non-directionally, restricted to 5 kW at night (both of these being US Class I-A clear channels).

Channel
Type
Frequency
(kHz)
Available
Classes
Assignment
Old class designation in ()
530In the US, reserved for low power
AM Travelers' Information Stations
Clear540A,B,DCBK Watrous, Saskatchewan: Class A (I-A)
CBT Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland and Labrador: Class A (I-B)
XEWA San Luis Potosí, San Luis Potosí: Class A (I-A)
WFLF Pine Hills, Florida: Class B (II-B)
Regional550(A),B,DCMBV Wajay, Cuba: Class A ("Rio" grant: 500 kW all hours; special grant of a Cuban Class A on a regional channel)
Regional560B,D
Regional570(A),B,DCMEA Santa Clara, Cuba: Class A ("Rio" grant: 30 kW all hours; special grant of a Cuban Class A on a regional channel)
Regional580(A),B,DCMAA Pinar del Rio, Cuba: Class A ("Rio" grant: 30 kW all hours; special grant of a Cuban Class A on a regional channel
KMJ Fresno, California Class B (III-A) (50 kW all hours; directional all hours)
Regional590(A),B,DCMCA San Antonio Vegas, Cuba: Class A ("Rio" grant: 150 kW all hours; special grant of a Cuban Class A on a regional channel)
Regional600(A),B,DCMKA San German, Cuba: Class A ("Rio" grant: 150 kW all hours; special grant of a Cuban Class A on a regional channel)
Regional610B,D
Regional620(A),B,DCMDA Colon, Cuba: Class A ("Rio" grant: 30 kW all hours; special grant of a Cuban Class A on a regional channel)
Regional630(A),B,DCMHA Camaguey, Cuba: Class A ("Rio" grant: 30 kW all hours; special grant of a Cuban Class A on a regional channel)
Clear640A,B,DKFI Los Angeles, California: Class A (I-A)
KYUK Bethel, Alaska: Class A (I-N)
CBN St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador: Class A (I-B) (NARBA grant: 10 kW non-directional all hours)
Clear650A,B,DWSM Nashville, Tennessee: Class A (I-A)
KENI Anchorage, Alaska: Class A (I-N)
Clear660A,B,DWFAN New York City: Class A (I-A)
KFAR Fairbanks, Alaska: Class A (I-N)
KTNN Window Rock, Arizona: Class B (II-B)
CMDC Colon, Cuba: Class A ("Rio" grant: 30 kW all hours; special grant of a Cuban Class A on a US clear channel)
Clear670A,B,DWSCR Chicago, Illinois: Class A (I-A)
KDLG Dillingham, Alaska: Class A (I-N)
KBOI Boise, Idaho: Class B (II-A)
CMBC Arroyo Arena, Cuba: Class A ("Rio" grant: 50 kW all hours; special grant of a Cuban Class A on a US clear channel)
Clear680A,B,DKNBR San Francisco, California: Class A (I-B) ND-U
KBRW Barrow, Alaska: Class A (I-N)
WRKO Boston, Massachusetts: Class B (II-B)
WCBM Baltimore, Maryland: Class B (II-B)
WPTF Raleigh, North Carolina: Class B (II-B)
Clear690A,B,DCKGM Montreal, Quebec: Class A (I-A)
CBU Vancouver, British Columbia: Class B (II-B)
XEWW Tijuana, Baja California: Class A (I-B) (NARBA grant: 50 kW, directional all hours; currently 77 kW days, 50 kW nights, directional all hours)
WOKV Jacksonville, Florida: Class B (II-B)
CMEC Santa Clara, Cuba: Class A ("Rio" grant: 50 kW all hours; special grant of a Cuban Class A on a Canadian clear channel)
Clear700A,B,DWLW Cincinnati, Ohio: Class A (I-A)
KBYR Anchorage, Alaska: Class A (I-N)
Clear710A,B,DWOR New York City: Class A (I-B)
KIRO Seattle, Washington: Class A (I-B)
KSPN Los Angeles, California: Class B (II-B)
WAQI Miami, Florida: Class B (II-B)
Clear720A,B,DWGN Chicago, Illinois: Class A (I-A)
KOTZ Kotzebue, Alaska: Class A (I-N)
KDWN Las Vegas, Nevada: Class B (II-A)
Clear730A,B,DCKAC Montreal, Quebec: Class A (II-B) ("Rio" grant: promotion to Class A)
XEX Mexico City: Class A (I-A)
CMHC Camaguey, Cuba: Class A ("Rio" grant: 30 kW all hours; special grant of a Cuban Class A on a Mexican clear channel)
Clear740A,B,DCFZM Toronto, Ontario: Class A (I-A)
KCBS San Francisco, California: Class B (II-B) (Formerly KQW San Jose, California)
WYGM Orlando, Florida: Class B (II-B)
KRMG Tulsa, Oklahoma: Class B (II-B)
KTRH Houston, Texas: Class B (II-B)
CMAC Pinar del Rio, Cuba: Class A ("Rio" grant: 30 kW all hours; special grant of a Cuban Class A on a Canadian clear channel)
Clear750A,B,DWSB Atlanta, Georgia: Class A (I-A)
KFQD Anchorage, Alaska: Class A (I-N)
CBGY Bonavista, Newfoundland and Labrador: Class A (I-B) (New station; Grandfathered at 10 kW)
KMMJ Grand Island, Nebraska: Class B (II-B)
KXTG Portland, Oregon: Class B (II-B)
Clear760A,B,DWJR Detroit, Michigan: Class A (I-A)
KFMB San Diego, California: Class B (II-B)
CMKC Cacocun, Cuba: Class A ("Rio" grant: 75 kW all hours; special grant of a Cuban Class A on a US clear channel)
Clear770A,B,DWABC New York City: Class A (I-A)
KKOB Albuquerque, New Mexico: Class B (II-A)
KCHU Valdez, Alaska: Class A (I-N)
KTTH Seattle, Washington: Class B (II-B)
Clear780A,B,DWBBM Chicago, Illinois: Class A (I-A)
KNOM Nome, Alaska: Class A (I-N)
KKOH Reno, Nevada: Class B (II-A)
Regional790(A),B,DCMAC Guanabacoba, Cuba: Class A ("Rio" grant: 30 kW all hours; special grant of a Cuban Class A on a regional channel)
Clear800A,B,DXEROK Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua: Class A (I-A)
CKLW Windsor, Ontario: Class B (II-B)
CMEB Santa Clara, Cuba: Class A ("Rio" grant: 30 kW all hours; special grant of a Cuban Class A on a Mexican clear channel)
Clear810A,B,DKGO San Francisco, California: Class A (I-B)
WGY Schenectady, New York: Class A (I-B) ND-U, but KGO was the originally assigned dominant station
WHB Kansas City, Missouri: Class B (II-B)
WKVM San Juan, Puerto Rico: Class B (II-B)
Clear820A,B,DWBAP Fort Worth, Texas: Class A (I-A)
KCBF Fairbanks, Alaska: Class A (I-N)
Clear830A,B,DWCCO Minneapolis, Minnesota: Class A (I-A)
KLAA Orange, California: Class B (II-B)
XEITE Mexico City, Mexico: Class B (II-B) (NARBA grant: 5 kW all hours; present operation 10 kW days, 5 kW nights)
Clear840A,B,DWHAS Louisville, Kentucky: Class A (I-A)
KXNT North Las Vegas, Nevada: Class B (II-B)
Clear850A,B,DKOA Denver, Colorado: Class A (I-B) ND-U
KICY Nome, Alaska: Class A (I-N)
WEEI Boston, Massachusetts: Class B (II-B)
WTAR Norfolk, Virginia: Class B (II-B)
Clear860A,B,DCJBC Toronto, Ontario: Class A (I-A)
KTRB San Francisco, California: Class B (II-B) Presently operating at 7.5 kW nights
CMDB Colon, Cuba: Class A ("Rio" grant: 30 kW all hours; special grant of a Cuban Class A on a Canadian clear channel)
Clear870A,B,DWWL New Orleans, Louisiana: Class A (I-A)
Clear880A,B,DWCBS New York City: Class A (I-A)
KRVN Lexington, Nebraska: Class B (II-A)
CMAB Pinar del Rio, Cuba: Class A ("Rio" grant: 30 kW all hours; special grant of a Cuban Class A on a US clear channel)
Clear890A,B,DWLS Chicago, Illinois: Class A (I-A)
KBBI Homer, Alaska: Class A (I-N)
KDXU St. George, Utah: Class B (II-A)
CMHB Camaguey, Cuba: Class A ("Rio" grant: 30 kW all hours; special grant of a Cuban Class A on a US clear channel)
Clear900A,B,DXEW Mexico City: Class A (I-A)
CKBI Prince Albert, Saskatchewan: Class A (II-B)
CMKB Cacocun, Cuba: Class A ("Rio" grant: 200 kW days, 50 kW nights; special grant of a Cuban Class A on a Mexican clear channel)
Regional910(A),B,DCMAC Guanabacoba, Cuba: Class A ("Rio" grant: 75 kW all hours; special grant of a Cuban Class A on a regional channel)
Regional920B,D
Regional930B,D
Clear940A,B,DCINW Montreal, Quebec: Class A (I-B)
XEQ Mexico City: Class A (I-B) ND-U
KFIG Fresno, California: Class B (II-B)
Regional950B,DKJR Seattle, Washington Class B (II-B) (50 kW all hours; directional all hours)
WWJ Detroit, Michigan: Class B (II-B) (50 kW all hours; directional all hours)
Regional960B,D
Regional970B,D
Regional980B,D
Clear990A,B,DCBW Winnipeg, Manitoba: Class A (I-A)
CBY Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador: Class A (I-B)
WDYZ Orlando, Florida: Class B (II-B)
Clear1000A,B,DWMVP Chicago, Illinois: Class A (I-B)
KOMO Seattle, Washington: Class A (I-B)
XEOY Mexico City, Mexico: Class A (I-B) (NARBA grant: 10 kW all hours; present operation 50 kW days, 10 kW nights)
Clear1010A,B,DCBR Calgary, Alberta: Class A (I-A)
CFRB Toronto, Ontario: Class A (II-B) (Class II-B promoted to Class A)
WINS New York City: Class B (II-B)
CMBX Wajay, Cuba: Class A ("Rio" grant: 500 kW all hours; special grant of a Cuban Class A on a Canadian clear channel)
Clear1020A,B,DKDKA Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Class A (I-A)
KVNT Eagle River, Alaska: Class A (I-N)
KCKN Roswell, New Mexico: Class B (II-A)
KTNQ Los Angeles, California: Class B (II-B)
Clear1030A,B,DWBZ Boston, Massachusetts: Class A (I-A)
KTWO Casper, Wyoming: Class B (II-A)
XEQR Mexico City, Mexico: Class B (II-B) (NARBA grant: 5 kW all hours; present operation 50 kW days, 5 kW nights)
Clear1040A,B,DWHO Des Moines, Iowa: Class A (I-A)
Clear1050A,B,DCHUM Toronto, Ontario: Class B (II-B)
XEG Guadalupe, Nuevo León: Class A (I-A)
WEPN New York City: Class B (II-B) (NARBA grant: 50 kW all hours, directional all hours; present operation: same)
Clear1060A,B,DKYW Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Class A (I-B)
XEEP Mexico City: Class A (I-B) (NARBA grant: 20 kW all hours; present operation 50 kW days, 20 kW nights)
Clear1070A,B,DKNX Los Angeles, California: Class A (I-B) ND-U
CBA Moncton, New Brunswick: Class A (I-B) ND-U (Silent)
Clear1080A,B,DWTIC Hartford, Connecticut: Class A (I-B)
KRLD Dallas, Texas: Class A (I-B)
KOAN Anchorage, Alaska: Class A (I-N)
KFXX Portland, Oregon: Class B (II-B)
Clear1090A,B,DKAAY Little Rock, Arkansas: Class A (I-B)
WBAL Baltimore, Maryland: Class A (I-B)
XEPRS Rosarito Beach, Baja California: Class A (I-B)
KFNQ Seattle, Washington: Class B (II-B)
Clear1100A,B,DWTAM Cleveland, Ohio: Class A (I-A)
KNZZ Grand Junction, Colorado: Class B (II-A)
KFAX San Francisco, California: Class B (II-B)
Clear1110A,B,DWBT Charlotte, North Carolina: Class A (I-B)
KFAB Omaha, Nebraska: Class A (I-B)
KDIS Pasadena, California: Class B (II-B)
Clear1120A,B,DKMOX St. Louis, Missouri: Class A (I-A)
KPNW Eugene, Oregon: Class B (II-A)
Clear1130A,B,DKWKH Shreveport, Louisiana: Class A (I-B)
WBBR New York City: Class A (I-B)
CKWX Vancouver, British Columbia: Class A (I-B)
KTLK Minneapolis, Minnesota: Class B (II-B)
Clear1140A,B,DWRVA Richmond, Virginia: Class A (I-B)
XEMR Apodaca, Nuevo León: Class A (I-B)
KHTK Sacramento, California: Class B (II-B)
Regional1150B,D
Clear1160A,B,DKSL Salt Lake City, Utah: Class A (I-A)
WYLL Chicago, Illinois: Class B (II-B)
Clear1170A,B,DKFAQ Tulsa, Oklahoma: Class A (I-B)
WWVA Wheeling, West Virginia: Class A (I-B)
KJNP North Pole, Alaska: Class A (I-N)
Clear1180A,B,DWHAM Rochester, New York: Class A (I-A)
KOFI Kalispell, Montana: Class B (II-A)
Clear1190A,B,DKEX Portland, Oregon: Class A (I-B)
WOWO Fort Wayne, Indiana: Class B (I-B) (Former I-B downgraded to Class B by licensee's request; 9.8 kW nights)
WLIB New York City: Class B (II-B) (10 kW days, 30 kW nights)
XEWK-AM Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico: Class A (I-B) (NARBA grant: 10 kW all hours; present operation 50 kW days, 10 kW nights)
Clear1200A,B,DWOAI San Antonio, Texas: Class A (I-A)
WCHB Taylor, Michigan: Class B (II-B)
Clear1210A,B,DWPHT Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Class A (I-A)
KGYN Guymon, Oklahoma: Class B (II-A)
Clear1220A,B,DXEB Mexico City: Class A (I-A)
WHKW Cleveland, Ohio: Class B (II-B) (NARBA grant: 50 kW all hours, directional all hours; present operation: same)
Regional1230BStations in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands
Local1230CStations in coterminous 48 states
Regional1240BStations in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands
Local1240CStations in coterminous 48 states
Regional1250B,D
Regional1260B,DCFRN Edmonton, Alberta: Class A (III-B) (Class III-B promoted to Class A, but operating on a Class III frequency)
Regional1270B,D
Regional1280B,D
Regional1290B,D
Regional1300B,D
Regional1310B,D
Regional1320B,D
Regional1330B,D
Regional1340BStations in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands
Local1340CStations in coterminous 48 states
Regional1350B,D
Regional1360B,D
Regional1370B,D
Regional1380B,DKRKO Everett, Washington Class B (III-A) (50 kW all hours; directional nights)
Regional1390B,D
Regional1400BStations in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands
Local1400CStations in coterminous 48 states
Regional1410B,D
Regional1420B,D
Regional1430B,D
Regional1440B,D
Regional1450BStations in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands
Local1450CStations in coterminous 48 states
Regional1460B,D
Regional1470B,D
Regional1480B,D
Regional1490BStations in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands
Local1490CStations in coterminous 48 states
Clear1500A,B,DWFED Washington, D.C.: Class A (I-B)
KSTP Saint Paul, Minnesota: Class A (I-B)
Clear1510A,B,DWLAC Nashville, Tennessee: Class A (I-B)
WMEX Boston, Massachusetts: Class B (II-B)
KGA Spokane, Washington: Class B (I-B) (Former I-B downgraded to Class B by licensee's request; 15 kW nights)
Clear1520A,B,DWWKB Buffalo, New York: Class A (I-B)
KOKC Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Class A (I-B)
KQRR Oregon City, Oregon: Class B (II-B)
KKXA Snohomish, Washington Class B (II-B) (50 kW all hours; directional all hours)
Clear1530A,B,DKFBK Sacramento, California: Class A (I-B)
WCKY Cincinnati, Ohio: Class A (I-B)
Clear1540A,B,DKXEL Waterloo, Iowa: Class A (I-B)
ZNS-1 Nassau, Bahamas: Class A (I-A)
KMPC Los Angeles, California: Class B (II-B)
WDCD Albany, New York: Class B (II-B)
Clear1550A,B,DXERUV Xalapa, Veracruz: Class A (I-B) (NARBA grant: 10 kW non-directional)
CBEF Windsor, Ontario: Class A (I-B) (NARBA grant: 10 kW directional all hours)
KKOV Vancouver, Washington: Class B (II-B)
Clear1560A,B,DKNZR Bakersfield, California: Class A (I-B) Only US Class A grandfathered at 10 kW nights
WFME New York City: Class A (I-B)
Clear1570A,B,DXERF Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila: Class A (I-A) (NARBA grant: 250 kW; believed to be operating at 50 kW, but operated at 10 kW for many years)
Clear1580A,B,DCKDO Oshawa, Ontario: Class A (I-A)
KHEP Tempe, Arizona: Class B (II-B)
KBLA Santa Monica, California: Class B (II-B)
Regional1590B,D
Regional1600B,D
Regional (Expanded)1610B
Regional (Expanded)1620B
Regional (Expanded)1630B
Regional (Expanded)1640B
Regional (Expanded)1650B
Regional (Expanded)1660B
Regional (Expanded)1670B
Regional (Expanded)1680B
Regional (Expanded)1690B
Regional (Expanded)1700B

FM

Station class description

ClassEffective Radiated Power (ERP, calculated using transmitter power and antenna HAAT)Antenna Height Above Average Terrain (HAAT)Reference distance
C100 kW (or higher for grandfathered stations)300 m to 600 m91.8 km
C0100 kW300 m to 450 m83.4 km
C1up to 100 kWunder 300 m72.3 km
C2up to 50 kWup to 150 m52.2 km
C3up to 25 kWup to 100 m39.1 km
C4 (US rulemaking)up to 12 kWup to 100 m33.3 km
Bup to 50 kWup to 150 m65.1 km
B1up to 25 kWup to 100 m44.7 km
A100 W to 6 kWup to 100 m28.3 km
AA (Mexico)up to 3 kW (the former limit for A)
Dup to 250 W ERP except US non-translators to 10W TPOunlimitedunspecified
L1 (US, also LP100)50 W to 100 Wup to 30 m5.6 km
L2 (US, also LP10)1 W to 10 Wup to 30 m3.2 km
LP (Canada)10-50 W
VLP (Canada)up to 10 W
unlicensedsignal strength of 250 µV/m (US), 100 µV/m (Canada)unspecifiedmeasured at 3 m (US), 30 m (Canada)

Notes:

  • Canada protects all radio stations out to a signal strength of 0.5mV/m (54dBu), whereas only commercial B stations in the US are. Commercial B1 in the US is 0.7mV/m (57dBu), and all other stations are 1.0mV/m (60dBu). Noncommercial-band stations (88.1 to 91.9) are not afforded this protection, and are treated as C3 and C2 even when they are B1 or B. C3 and C2 may also be reported internationally as B1 and B, respectively.
  • Class C0 is for former C stations, demoted at request of another station which needs the downgrade to accommodate its own facilities.
  • In practice, many stations are above the maximum HAAT for a particular class, and correspondingly must downgrade their power to remain below the reference distance. Conversely, they may not increase power if they are below maximum HAAT.
  • All class D (including L1 and L2 LPFM and translator) stations are secondary in the US, and can be bumped or forced off-air completely, even if they are not just a repeater and are the only station a licensee has.
  • The United States is divided into separate regions that have different restrictions for FM stations. Zone I (much of the US Northeast and Midwest) and I-A (most of California, plus Puerto Rico) is limited to classes B and B1, while Zone II (everything else) has only the C classes. All areas have the same classes for A and D.
  • Power and height restrictions were put in place in 1962. A number of previously existing stations were grandfathered in, such as KVYB in Santa Barbara, California and WMC-FM in Memphis, Tennessee.

The following table lists the various classes of FM stations, the reference facilities for each station class, and the protected and city grade contours for each station class:

FM station
class
Reference
(maximum)
facilities for
station class
(ERP / HAAT)
FM
protected
or primary
service
contour
Distance to
protected or
primary
service
contour
Distance to 70
dBu city-grade
or principal
community
coverage
contour
Class A6 kW
100 m (328 ft)
60 dBu (1.0mV/m)28.3 km (17.6 mi)16.2 km (10.1 mi)
Class B125 kW
100 m (328 ft)
57 dBu (0.7mV/m)44.7 km (27.8 mi)23.2 km (14.4 mi)
Class B50 kW
150 m (492 ft)
54 dBu (0.5mV/m)65.1 km (40.5 mi)32.6 km (20.3 mi)
Class C325 kW
100 m (328 ft)
60 dBu (1.0mV/m)39.1 km (24.3 mi)23.2 km (14.4 mi)
Class C250 kW
150 m (492 ft)
60 dBu (1.0mV/m)52.2 km (32.4 mi)32.6 km (20.3 mi)
Class C1100 kW
299 m (981 ft)
60 dBu (1.0mV/m)72.3 km (44.9 mi)50.0 km (31.1 mi)
Class C0100 kW
450 m (1,476 ft)
60 dBu (1.0mV/m)83.4 km (51.8 mi)59.0 km (36.7 mi)
Class C100 kW
600 m (1,969 ft)
60 dBu (1.0mV/m)91.8 km (57.0 mi)67.7 km (42.1 mi)

Historically, there were local "Class A" frequencies (like AM radio's class C stations) to which only class A stations would be allocated & the other frequencies could not have a class A. According to the 1982 FCC rules & regulations those frequencies were: 92.1, 92.7, 93.5, 94.3, 95.3, 95.9, 96.7, 97.7, 98.3, 99.3, 100.1, 100.9, 101.7, 102.3, 103.1, 103.9, 104.9, 105.5, 106.3 & 107.1.

FM zones

The US is divided into three zones for FM broadcasting: I, I-A and II. The zone where a station is located may limit the choices of broadcast class available to a given FM station.

Zone I in the US includes all of Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. It also includes the areas south of latitude 43.5°N in Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont; as well as coastal Maine, southeastern Wisconsin, and northern and eastern Virginia.

Zone I-A includes California south of 40°N, as well as Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

Zone II includes the remainder of the continental US, plus Alaska and Hawaii.

In Zones I and I-A, there are no Class C, C0, or C1 stations. However, there are a few Class B stations with grandfathered power limits in excess of 50 KW, such as WETA-FM (licensed for Washington DC in zone I, at a power of 75 kW ERP), WNCI-FM (licensed for Columbus, Ohio in zone I, at a power of 175 kW ERP) and KPFK (Los Angeles, in zone I-A, at 110 KW ERP).

TV

Full-power stations in the US

  • VHF low (2-6): 100 kW video analog; 45 kW digital (sliding scale varying with height)
  • VHF high (7-13): 316 kW video analog; 160 kW digital (sliding scale varying with height)
  • UHF all (14-51): 5 MW video analog; 1 MW digital

Notes:

All full power analog television station transmissions in the US were terminated at midnight Eastern Daylight Time on June 12, 2009. Many broadcasters replaced their analog signal with their digital ATSC signal on the same transmission channel at that time.

  • All US digital stations received a -DT suffix during the analog-to-digital transition. At analog shutdown, the FCC assigned to each digital station the call sign its associated analog station had used. (with a -TV suffix if the analog station had this suffix, without the -TV suffix if the analog station didn't have it). Stations could optionally choose to keep the -DT suffix. Most stations did not keep the -DT suffix.
  • For US analog stations, the -TV suffix was required if there was a radio station with the same three- or four-letter callsign. Stations not required to use the -TV suffix may optionally request it if desired.
  • Analog audio power was limited to 22% of video.

Full-power stations in Canada

  • Class A: UHF, 10 kW video/100m EHAAT
  • Class B: UHF, 100 kW video/150m EHAAT
  • Class C: UHF, 1000 kW video/300m EHAAT (?)
  • Class D: UHF, more than 1000 kW/300m EHAAT
  • Class R: VHF, 100 kW low-band (channels 2-6), 325 kW high-band. (channels 7-13)
  • Class S: VHF, more than 100 kW low-band/325 kW high-band.

Notes:

  • Official definitions of these classes are difficult to locate. The values above are inferred from the . There is some ambiguity about the difference between Classes C and D.
  • Power-level limitations are not firmly enforced in Canada, and Industry Canada has been known to license stations for power levels much higher than the generally accepted limits. For example, CFRN-TV in Edmonton, Alberta operated on Channel 3 at over 600 kW but was not subject to international co-ordination due to its location 500 km north of the border.
  • In Canada, the callsigns of all private TV stations have the -TV suffix. Most CBC Television and Télévision de Radio-Canada TV callsigns end in the letter T and have no suffix. A few Radio-Canada stations, purchased by the CBC from private owners, retain the old -TV callsigns.
  • Canadian digital stations all receive the -DT suffix. (this includes CBC and Radio-Canada stations) The shows -PT suffixes for the channel allotments for permanent post-transition digital operation but when licences are issued for these permanent digital stations, -DT callsigns are used.

Low-power TV (US)

LPTV (secondary) (suffix: -LP, or a sequential-numbered callsign in format W##XX with no suffix for analog or with -D suffix for digital, or -LD for low-power digital stations):

  • VHF (2-13): 3 kW analog video; 3 kW digital
  • UHF (14-69): 150 kW analog video; 15 kW digital
  • Experimental
  • Unlicensed: not allowed except for medical telemetry, and certain wireless microphones

The LPTV (low-power television) service was created in 1982 by the FCC to allocate channels for smaller, local stations, and community channels, such as public access stations. LPTV stations that meet additional requirements such as children's "E/I" core programming and Emergency Alert System broadcasting capabilities can qualify for a Class A (-CA) license.

Broadcast translators, boosters, and other LPTV stations are considered secondary to full-power stations, unless they have upgraded to class A. Class A is still considered LPTV with respect to stations in Canada and Mexico.

Class A television (US)

Class-A stations (US) (suffix: -CA or -CD for digital class A):

  • VHF (2-13): 3 kW analog video; 3 kW digital
  • UHF (14-69): 150 kW analog video; 15 kW digital

The class-A television class is a variant of LPTV created in 2000 by the FCC to allocate and protect some low-power affiliates. Class-A stations are still low-power, but are protected from RF interference and from having to change channel should a full-service station request that channel.

Additionally, class-A stations, LPTV stations, and translators are the only stations currently authorized to broadcast both analog and digital signals, unlike full-power stations which must broadcast a digital signal only.

Low-power TV (Canada)

In Canada, there is no formal transmission power below which, a television transmitter is considered broadcasting at low power. Industry Canada considers that a low power digital television undertaking "shall not normally extend a distance of 20 km in any direction from the antenna site," based on the determined noise-limited bounding contour.

Mexico

All stations in Mexico have -TV (analog) or -TDT (digital) callsign suffixes.

The equivalent of low power or translator service in Mexico is the equipo complementario de zona de sombra, which is intended only to fill in gaps between a station's expected and actual service area caused by terrain; a station of this type shares the callsign of another station. In analog these services often broadcast on the same or adjacent channels to their parent station, except in certain areas with tight packing of television stations (such as central Mexico). In digital these services usually operate on the same RF channel as their parent station, except for those with conflicting full-power applications (XHBS-TDT Cd. Obregón, Son., channel 30 instead of 25), in certain other cases where it is technically not feasible (XHAW-TDT Guadalupe, NL, channel 26 instead of 25) or to make way for eventual repacking on upper UHF (XHPNW-TDT has four shadows on 33, its post-repacking channel, instead of 39).

A few equipos complementarios carry different programming and/or advertising from the stations they relay, though this is generally not allowed.

Stations of either type may have unusually low or high effective radiated powers. XHSMI-TDT in Oaxaca is licensed for two watts in digital. The highest-powered shadows are XEQ-TDT Toluca and XHBS-TDT Ciudad Obregón, both at 200 kW.

FCC service table

The United States Federal Communications Commission lists the following services on their website for television broadcasting:

Broadcast classServiceSuffixes used or call sign examples
Television allotment (analog)TAAn allocation of a frequency to a city of license for which no corresponding call sign or license has been assigned. FCC placeholder for possible future construction permits or frequencies allocated to non-US broadcast use. No call sign, identifier is a date (yymmdd) followed by a sequential two-letter value in the US FCC database.
Full-service TV (analog)TV-TV or none (such as "WABC-TV" and "WMYD") Since the shutdown of all full power analog stations in June 2009, used only for historical records.
Class A (analog)CA-CA, or a translator-style call sign (such as "KTFB-CA")
Low-power station (analog) or translatorLP-LP, or a translator-style call sign (such as "KDMD-LP", , and "K13IO" with the 2 digits denoting the channel of operation)
TV boostersTBRare. These use the parent station's call sign plus a sequential number, such as WSTE1, WSTE2, WSTE3. Nameplates for on-channel repeaters bear the parent station's call sign, followed by "booster". See distributed transmission. If the station is digital, and has on-channel boosters, they would typically be named WSTE-DT1, WSTE-DT2, WSTE-DT3 and so on.
TV auxiliary (analog backup) serviceTSno specific suffix (uses same call sign as main transmitter)
NTSC (analog) petition for a channel changeNNno specific suffix; uses same call sign as the station which made a request for a number/channel change (for NTSC/analog stations, and low-power repeaters, such as those registered as TX).
Digital Television
(full power)
DT-DT, -TV or none (such as KGLA-DT, WSKY-TV or KJWP). Some stations formerly used -HD, but this has become obsolete (though it may sometimes still be seen identifying the station's main subchannel in a PSIP listing). The -DT suffix, optional for digital-only stations, was used primarily to distinguish a DTV transmission from an analog signal of the same broadcast (or is seen identifying the main subchannel of a station on a PSIP display); likewise, -TV is optional except if the eponymous radio stations exist. A similar suffix -DTV, is used on all television stations in Japan.
Digital Class-ACD-CD(such as "WDNI-CD" and "WYYW-CD") Some stations briefly used -DC as well (this has since become obsolete). A scant few still use translator-style call signs with the -D suffix (such as "K36ID-D").
Digital Low-powerLD-LD or translator-style calls with -D suffix (such as "WBND-LD" and "W25AA-D"), occasionally no suffix (uses same call sign as main transmitter). Some stations briefly used -DL as well (this has since become obsolete). Some full-powered stations (such as WOIO, WXMI and WLS-TV) have been granted approval for fill-in translators within their broadcast market to better cover outlying towns or heavily-urbanied areas, particularly by stations with a VHF digital signal. These are technically -LD stations, but have the same call-sign as their parent station (such as WLS-TV or WOIO, and not as WLS-LD or WOIO-LD, though they could be considered as such for ease of differentiating the low-power repeater from its parent), similar to a Distributed Transmission System (but on different frequencies).
Digital special temporary authority (STA)DSno specific suffix; uses same call sign as station making a request for permission from the FCC to use a channel, power level or transmitter location not permanently allocated for one particular station. Temporary assignments retain, unmodified, the call sign of the corresponding permanent allocation; this includes translator-style calls (a format, such as W55ZZ-D, based on RF channel number plus a sequential identifier) even on those temporarily moving to another frequency.
Digital Television distributed transmission system (multiple transmitter sites)DDno specific suffix (uses same call sign as main transmitter); this is usually requested for a single-frequency network and to tailor coverage area to the needs of the viewers in the station's service area (such as covering towns and farmland, and not mountainous terrain or the ocean)
Digital auxiliary (backup) serviceDX
(not to be confused with DXing)
no specific suffix (uses same call sign as main transmitter)
Digital rulemaking petitionDRno specific suffix; uses same call sign as station making this request to add or modify a digital channel allocation
Land mobile use of a TV channel (TV RF channels 14-20 only)LMAs "LM" is used in the FCC database to indicate reallocation of an entire channel, but not to identify individual users transmitting in that spectrum, a 6 MHz LM allocation does not itself carry a TV-style call sign. The spectrum of TV channels 14-20 is called "T-band" in LMR use. Repeaters that operate in such an allocation use a 3 MHz offset instead of 5 MHz as normally used in the 450-470 MHz range.
ATSC 3.0 Futurecast Experimental BroadcastsEXUsed for officially-licensed experimental 4K/2160p Ultra HDTV broadcast stations, such as WRAL-TV's UHDTV simulcast, WRAL-EX.