Radio: A Trusted Source for Local News and Information

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in its December 12, 2018, Communications Marketplace Report, said there were 17,668 terrestrial radio stations: 4,626 AM stations, 10,867 FM stations and 2,175 Low Power FM (LPFM) stations.

The FM stations were broken down into 6,737 commercial stations and 4,130 non-commercial stations. The newcomers to the group are LPFM stations that broadcast at 100 watts to reach an area with a radius of about three and one half miles. This special class of license was established to “create opportunities for new voices to be heard on the radio.” College and university radio stations typically hold an LPFM license.

FM radio transmits via a line of sight. That restricts transmissions to receiving antennas that are not blocked by objects such as mountains or skyscraper buildings. That’s why FM broadcasts are most closely associated with local radio stations along with their newer, lower-powered cousins, the LPFM.

FM radio stations can be commercial, educational or community stations. A good example of community radio is KPFZ 88.1FM in Lakeport, California. This station is owned and operated by Lake County Community Radio, Inc., a California Public Benefit Corporation. This means that the station is designated for charitable purposes and may not be used for the private gain of any individual.

Lakeport is located in Lake County, which has had more than its share of wildfires. These have included the Jerusalem and Rocky fires in 2015, the Clayton fire in 2016, and the Mendocino Complex and Pawnee fires in 2018.

About the Author

Professor Lawrence Dietz has more than 30 years of diversified military and commercial sector experience. Dietz retired as a Colonel from the USAR in 2002, having held command and staff assignments in PSYOP and military intelligence to include platoon, company and battalion command. He also served as the Deputy Commander for the NATO PSYOP Task Force (CJICTF) in Bosnia. Specialties include PSYOP, information operations, strategic intelligence and tactical intelligence. His commercial sector experience has included market intelligence, marketing, customer support and legal work dealing with information technology. Professor Dietz is an adjunct faculty member teaching within the Intelligence Studies program at American Military University. You may contact him at