Thursday, February 19, 2015


There is gold in analog FM translators!

A few years ago, FM translators were primarily used by FM broadcasters to expand their reach or fill in gaps in their coverage areas caused by terrain. Now FM translators are in demand and changing hands for big money.

In recent years, the FCC extended the use of FM translators for AM and HD Radio stations.  Since then the demand for FM translators has gone through the roof.  Consider this translator for sale in Miami:

The Construction Permit (“CP”) for the Mighty W231CU – 6 watts of power on 104.3 – is being sold by iHeartMedia, formerly Clear Channel.  The ink isn’t even dry on the CP – the FCC granted it January 14, 2015.  Here is the projected coverage area:

Is this translator worth one million bucks?  Apparently iHeartMedia thinks so.  If it sells for that amount, iHeartMedia will make a bundle. Obtaining the CP cost perhaps $25,000 (my guesstimate). So iHeart’s profit on this license to serve the public could be $975,000.  It is like printing money.
One million dollars for an FM translator isn’t even a record amount. That honor goes to W292DV – 106.3 FM broadcasting from the heart of Manhattan:

W2922DV sold for $3,500,000 in December 2014.

I am not saying anyone is trafficking in licenses but the above examples appear to be windfalls on the sale of public property.

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