A new member of our station that recently moved from Ohio reached out to us to ask about BPR News broadcasting on 107.9. He asked, “I have never seen a Public Radio station on the far right side of the FM band. I thought the FCC set up public radio on the left side of the FM band? I took us a while to find the news station at 107.9 FM.”
This listener is referring to what is commonly known as the reserved band. The FM Broadcast Band ranges from 88 MHz to 108 MHz. The Federal Communications Commission reserved the lower channels (88.1 MHz to 91.9 MHz) to non-commercial educational actives. This includes public broadcasting, community radio, college radio, and religious broadcasting. So when visiting a new community you can typically scan from 88.1 MHz to 91.9 MHz and find the local NPR Station.
The FCC did not restrict the rest of the FM Band from 92 MHz to 108 MHz for commercial only meaning that we can apply for, purchase and use frequencies outside the reserved band. In our case, all our transmitter licenses (WCQS, WYQS, WFQS, & WMQS) are in the noncommercial band and a large percentage of our translator licenses are outside the noncommercial band. Our transmitter stations are relatively low power and have limited coverage. Due to this and the challenges of broadcasting in the local topography, we have aggressively pursued applications for translators to expand and fill in our coverage. You can see a complete list of our frequencies here: http://www.bpr.org/stations.