LEWISTON – Maine Public announces the successful award of seven new noncommercial FM station licenses by the Federal Communications Commission. These new signals will be used to expand the reach of Maine Public Radio and Maine Public Classical into areas of Maine that currently do not access, or have limited access, to these services.
In August of 2021, the FCC issued a public notice providing an overview of the procedures and requirements for applications in a filing window for noncommercial educational FM stations to request construction permits for new noncommercial FM broadcast signals. The filing window was the first time in more than ten years that the FCC accepted applications for new noncommercial FM station licenses. Due to the congested airwaves in urban areas, most available channels were available in rural areas across the United States.
Maine Public applied for multiple noncommercial FM licenses and were awarded seven licenses. Station construction permits were approved for Bethel, Calais, Fort Kent, two in Greenville, Mars Hill, and Millinocket. Maine Public has earmarked Bethel, Greenville, and Millinocket to extend its Maine Public Radio footprint and Calais, Fort Kent, Greenville, and Mars Hill as areas of growth for Maine Public Classical.
“We are very excited to have been approved for seven new signals for Maine, “stated Jeff Mahaney, Maine Public’s chief technology officer. “When we applied, we had two goals concerning our radio network. One, expand Maine Public Radio to unserved areas, and two, grow our existing classical network. We have construction permits in Millinocket, Greenville, and Bethel, all three unserved areas for Maine Public Radio. In addition, we have the opportunity to deliver classical signals to Fort Kent, Mars Hill, Calais, and Greenville. There’s work to be done on the fundraising side to build out these signals, but we are closer than ever to making Maine Public’s radio signals accessible to everyone in Maine.”
As a stipulation for each new station construction permit, each new signal must be operational within three years of the award. The needs of each site vary greatly, and they all will require a significant investment to become operational. Maine Public will fundraise specifically to this effort to deliver news and entertainment over Maine Public Radio and Maine Public Classical to these currently underserved areas.
Maine Public is Maine’s premier, independent media resource, dedicated to creating exceptional opportunities for the communities it serves to engage with critical issues, compelling stories, and quality entertainment. Maine Public is renowned for creating award-winning programs, as well as airing content from PBS, NPR, and other independent producers. Formed in 1992, Maine Public is an independently owned and operated nonprofit organization with office and studio locations in Bangor, Lewiston, and Portland. For more information, visit mainepublic.org.