"Superpower" Grandfathered FM's

D. Smith W9WI - 9 September 1998

(back to W9WI homepage)
(Corrected/updated 17 January 2001)

2014-03-14: Click here for a different way of looking at superpower FM.

Under FCC regulations, FM broadcast stations in "Zone I" (most of the northeastern U.S., as far west as Barneveld, Wisconsin, and south roughly to the Ohio River and southern borders of Virginia and West Virginia) and "Zone IA" (California south of Red Bluff) are limited to a maximum power of 50,000 watts at a maximum antenna height of 150 meters. (500') Stations in "Zone II" (everywhere else..) are allowed 100,000 watts at a maximum of 600 meters. (2000') Stations may use higher antennas if they reduce power to compensate.

But these regulations haven't existed forever. Some (actually, quite a few) stations were built before they went into effect, and those whose powers were already above the new limits were allowed to keep their excess power. The table below shows these "superpower FMs". I do not guarantee 100% accuracy here, but I think it's pretty much correct...

The "s/b" column shows the maximum power that would be granted today at the antenna height the station is using. HAAT is the station's antenna height above average terrain, in meters. Multiply by 3 to get feet. (more or less..) "Class" indicates which zone the station is in; Class B stations are assigned in zones I and IA; Class C in Zone II. "dB" is how many decibels "overpower" the station is - how much its actual power exceeds what it should have under current regulations.

(More on "Superpower" FM)

State   City            Call    Freq    ERP     s/b     HAAT    Class   dB    Signon
CA      Santa Barbara   KRUZ    103.3   105,000 1,380   903     B       18.8     8 Aug 1961
CA      Los Angeles     KPFK    90.7    110,000 1,511   863     B       18.6    26 Jul 1959
CA      Los Angeles     KBIG    104.3   84,000  1,446   882     B       17.6    15 Feb 1959
CA      Los Angeles     KLOS    95.5    61,000  1,236   954     B       16.9    30 Dec 1947
CA      Los Angeles     KRTH    101.1   51,000  1,236   954     B       16.2           1941
CA      Los Angeles     KTWV    94.7    52,000  1,511   863     B       15.4     7 Mar 1961
CA      Los Angeles     KKBT    92.3    42,000  1,430   887     B       14.7    29 Dec 1948
CA      Los Angeles     KCBS-FM 93.1    28,500  990     1,066   B       14.6           1948
CA      Los Angeles     KUSC    91.5    39,000  1,417   891     B       14.4           1946
CA      Los Angeles     KLVE    107.5   29,500  1,347   914     B       13.4     2 May 1959
CA      Fresno          KSKS    93.7    68,000  3,344   580     B       13.1           1946
CA      Riverside       KSSE    97.5    72,000  3,626   557     B       13.0    17 Mar 1959
CA      Los Angeles     KPWR    105.9   25,000  1,315   925     B       12.8    20 Dec 1956
NY      Buffalo         WMJQ    102.5   110,000 6,758   408     B       12.1    11 Nov 1946
MI      Grand Rapids    WBCT    93.7    320,000 19,861  238     B       12.1       Oct 1951
CA      Los Angeles     KLSX    97.1    21,000  1,344   915     B       11.9           1954
CA      Los Angeles     KZLA-FM 93.9    18,500  1,231   956     B       11.8     7 Aug 1957
CA      San Francisco   KQED-FM 88.5    110,000 7,512   387     B       11.7       Jun 1969*
MI      Grand Rapids    WOOD-FM 105.7   265,000 18,440  247     B       11.6           1962
CA      San Francisco   KIOI    101.3   125,000 8,977   354     B       11.4    27 Oct 1957
CA      Los Angeles     KKGO-FM 105.1   18,000  1,453   880     B       10.9    18 Feb 1959
CA      Santa Barbara   KHTY    97.5    16,000  1,420   890     B       10.5     1 Sep 1957
CA      Los Angeles     KOST    103.5   12,500  1,249   949     B       10.0     9 Oct 1957
CA      San Francisco   KMEL    106.1   69,000  7,284   393     B       9.8     30 Nov 1960
CA      Monterey        KWAV    96.9    18,000  2,016   747     B       9.5     14 Oct 1961
CA      Los Angeles     KYSR    98.7    75,000  8,681   360     B       9.4     30 Jun 1954
CA      Berkeley        KPFA    94.1    59,000  6,859   405     B       9.3        Apr 1949
CA      San Francisco   KEAR    106.9   80,000  9,675   341     B       9.2            1958
CA      San Jose        KBRG    100.3   14,500  1,821   786     B       9.0      4 Mar 1963
CA      Salinas         KDON    102.5   18,500  2,349   692     B       9.0        Dec 1959
CA      San Francisco   KISQ    98.1    100,000 13,104  293     B       8.8     17 Jul 1958
CA      Los Angeles     KKLA-FM 99.5    10,500  1,459   878     B       8.6            1985*
PA      Williamsport    WKSB    102.7   53,000  7,512   387     B       8.5      1 Apr 1948
CA      San Francisco   KLLC    97.3    82,000  11,782  309     B       8.4      1 Mar 1963
PR      San Juan        WIPR-FM 91.3    105,000 15,545  825     B       8.3      3 Jun 1960
CA      San Bernardino  KOLA    99.9    29,500  4,377   507     B       8.3     15 Jun 1959
IL      Urbana          WILL-FM 90.9    105,000 16,771  259     B       8.0      1 Sep 1941
CA      Los Angeles     KIIS-FM 102.7   8,000   1,383   902     B       7.6            1948
MI      East Lansing    WKAR-FM 90.5    86,000  15,095  273     B       7.6     10 Oct 1948
CA      San Francisco   KFRC-FM 99.7    40,000  7,174   396     B       7.5            1949
PA      Johnstown       WKYE    95.5    57,000  10,783  323     B       7.2        Aug 1949
WI      Baraboo         WOLX    94.9    37,000  7,174   396     B       7.1      3 Mar 1946
CA      San Francisco   KOIT-FM 96.5    24,000  4,883   480     B       6.9            1959
CA      Ventura         KHAY    100.7   39,000  8,262   369     B       6.7      1 Jan 1962
OH      Dayton          WHKO    99.1    50,000  10,651  325     B       6.7            1946
MI      Ann Arbor       WUOM    91.7    93,000  19,861  238     B       6.7            1948
CA      Santa Barbara   KTYD    99.9    34,000  7,396   390     B       6.6     11 Aug 1962
CA      San Luis Obispo KZOZ    93.3    23,000  5,050   472     B       6.6     (unknown)
MI      Bay City        WIOG    102.5   86,000  18,896  244     B       6.6     12 Nov 1961
OH      Columbus        WNCI    97.9    175,000 38,473  171     B       6.6        Jul 1961
NY      Buffalo         WNED-FM 94.5    105,000 24,113  216     B       6.4      6 Jun 1960
VA      Richmond        WRVQ    94.5    200,000 50,000  107     B       6.0      4 Aug 1948
CA      Los Angeles     KIBB    100.3   5,300   1,341   916     B       6.0      1 Jun 1957
MI      Detroit         WOMC    104.3   190,000 50,000  110     B       5.8      5 Mar 1948
NY      Buffalo         WDCX    99.5    110,000 29,586  195     B       5.7        Feb 1963
VA      Winchester      WINC-FM 92.5    22,000  5,973   434     B       5.7        Oct 1946
CA      San Francisco   KYLD    94.9    30,000  8,262   369     B       5.6     12 Mar 1958
IN      Bloomington     WTTS    92.3    37,000  10,206  332     B       5.6      7 Jan 1960
NY      Syracuse        WYYY    94.5    100,000 28,696  198     B       5.4            1946
NY      Syracuse        WNTQ    93.1    97,000  27,846  201     B       5.4            1956
MA      Boston          WGBH    89.7    98,000  28,696  198     B       5.3      6 Oct 1951
MI      Grand Rapids    WVGR    104.1   108,000 33,593  183     B       5.1      7 Dec 1961
NY      Albany          WAMC    90.3    10,000  3,125   600     B       5.1      1 Oct 1958
WI      Delafield       WHAD    90.7    79,000  24,797  213     B       5.0     30 May 1948
CA      Glendale        KSCA    101.9   4,800   1,511   863     B       5.0        Mar 1951
CA      San Diego       KJQY    94.1    100,000 31,830  188     B       5.0            1949
WV      Beckley         WJLS-FM 99.5    34,000  10,986  320     B       4.9      6 Nov 1946
IN      Indianapolis    WFBQ    94.7    58,000  18,742  245     B       4.9     26 Nov 1959
PA      Pittsburgh      WLTJ    92.9    47,000  15,318  271     B       4.9      4 Apr 1942
PA      Pittsburgh      WDVE    102.5   55,000  18,000  250     B       4.9     10 May 1962
CA      San Francisco   KDFC-FM 102.1   33,000  11,055  319     B       4.7      1 Dec 1947
VA      Richmond        WTVR-FM 98.1    50,000  17,166  256     B       4.6        Feb 1946
TN      Memphis         WMC-FM  99.7    290,000 100,000 277     C       4.6     22 May 1947
PA      Pittsburgh      WWSW-FM 94.5    50,000  18,440  247     B       4.3            1940
WI      Madison         WERN    88.7    20,500  7,590   385     B       4.3     30 Mar 1947
VA      Norfolk         WVKL    95.7    40,000  15,663  268     B       4.1     21 Sep 1961
NY      Buffalo         WLCE    92.9    91,000  35,909  177     B       4.0            1947
DC      Washington      WETA    90.9    75,000  32,518  186     B       3.6     19 Apr 1970*
CA      Sacramento      KZZO    100.5   115,000 50,000  100     B       3.6        Oct 1958
CA      Mountain Pass   KHYZ    99.5    8,400   3,706   551     B       3.6        Apr 1980*
PA      Altoona         WFGY    98.1    30,000  13,658  287     B       3.4     17 Oct 1960
NY      Utica           WFRG    104.3   100,000 50,000  151     B       3.0     10 Oct 1948
MI      Detroit         WKQI    95.5    100,000 50,000  131     B       3.0     12 Feb 1949
IL      Chicago         WMBI-FM 90.1    100,000 50,000  134     B       3.0     25 Jul 1960
CA      San Francisco   KITS    105.3   15,000  8,398   366     B       2.5      1 Jun 1964
OH      Salem           WQXK    105.1   88,000  50,000  131     B       2.5     25 Nov 1958
IL      Chicago         WFMT    98.7    15,500  8,827   357     B       2.4     13 Dec 1951
NH      Mt. Washington  WHOM    94.9    48,000  27,652  1,141   C       2.4      9 Jul 1958
CA      Stockton        KSTN-FM 107.3   8,100   4,666   491     B       2.4            1962
MI      Detroit         WRIF    101.1   27,000  15,663  268     B       2.4      1 Jan 1948
OH      Cleveland       WMJI    105.7   16,000  9,507   344     B       2.3      4 Nov 1954
NY      Ithaca          WYXL    97.3    26,000  15,663  268     B       2.2      1 Sep 1947
MI      Detroit         WDET-FM 101.9   79,000  50,000  137     B       2.0     18 Dec 1948
VA      Roanoke         WSLQ    99.1    150,000 100,000 607     C       1.8      1 Nov 1947
VA      Newport News    WGH-FM  97.3    74,000  50,000  120     B       1.7        Nov 1948
MI      Detroit         WWWW    106.7   61,000  42,343  163     B       1.6     16 Oct 1960
PA      Pittsburgh      WXDX    105.9   72,000  50,000  131     B       1.6            1960
CA      San Francisco   KKSF    103.7   7,800   5,605   448     B       1.4      3 Nov 1947
WV      Huntington      WKEE    100.5   53,000  38,473  171     B       1.4     19 Nov 1947
CA      San Francisco   KFOG    104.5   7,100   5,340   459     B       1.2      1 Mar 1963
IL      Mount Vernon    WMIX-FM 94.1    50,000  39,860  168     B       1.0            1946
OH      Toledo          WIOT    104.7   50,000  41,322  165     B       0.8        Oct 1949
WA      Edmonds         KCMS    105.3   115,000 100,000 220     C1      0.6     11 Mar 1960
IA      Des Moines      KHKI    97.3    115,000 100,000 137     C1      0.6            1961
PA      Montrose        WPEL-FM 96.5    57,000  50,000  140     B       0.6      5 Jun 1961
NE      Omaha           KGOR    99.9    110,000 100,000 375     C       0.4            1959
CA      Los Angeles     KFSG    96.3    54,000  50,000  146     B       0.3            1949
IL      Decatur         WSOY-FM 102.9   54,000  50,000  137     B       0.3        Nov 1946
OH      Wooster         WQKT    104.5   52,000  50,000  101     B       0.2            1947
* The current limits went into effect in 1962. Stations marked with a * signed on after that date. Most signing on a year or two later probably already held construction permits but had not yet completed construction. I cannot explain how WETA received a superpower permit 8 years after the limits were set. KQED took over the facilities of a religious station that dated back to at least 1966 and almost certainly earlier. The 1985 signon of KKLA-FM is the date under the current license. Another license for the same technical facilities had existed earlier, but was revoked in the mid-1980s for violations of FCC regulations. KHYZ received special dispensation from the FCC due to the lack of other FM service in that isolated area.

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