Nielsen Audio Top 50 Market Counties

Revised November 19, 2023

The counties and areas listed here are those that comprise the 2023 Nielsen Audio Top-50 urban markets. 

If the LPFM transmitting antenna is physically located in one of these areas, then the following FCC rules apply:

  • §73.853(b) requires that LPFM organizations in the Top-50 urban markets must have the headquarters or campus of the organization or at least 75% of the organization's board members physically reside within 10 miles of the transmitting antenna location. 
  • §73.872(b)(1) states that in order to claim the Established Community Presence point, an applicant must, for a period of two years prior to the application and at all times thereafter, have the headquarters or campus of the organization or at least 75% of the organization's board members physically reside within 10 miles of the transmitting antenna location. 
  • §73.872(b)(3) states that in order to claim the Main Studio point, that the applicant pledges to maintain a publicly accessible main studio with local program origination capability, is reachable by telephone, is staffed at least 20 hours per week between 7AM~10PM and is located within 10 miles of the transmitting antenna.

For counties and areas not designated as Top-50 urban markets, the 10 mile limit is extended to 20 miles.




Alameda, Contra Costa, El Dorado (west of the Sierras including Placerville but not including South Lake Tahoe), Los Angeles, Marin, Napa, Nevada (west of the Sierras, including Grass Valley and Nevada City, but not including Truckee), Orange, Placer (west of the Sierras, including Roseville, Auburn and Foresthill but not including Tahoe City), Riverside (Inland Empire area west of the San Jacintos.  Does not include the southern portion of the county such as Lake Elsinore, Temecula and Murrieta.  Also does not include the Coachella Valley, including Palm Springs and Indio or anywhere east of there), Sacramento, San Bernardino (Inland Empire and Big Bear/Lake Arrowhead areas only.  Does not include the western portion of the county, such as Ontario, Chino and Rancho Cucamonga.  Also does not include the Victor Valley and high desert areas such as Barstow.), San Diego, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma, Yolo


Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, Jefferson


Fairfield (Stamford, Norwalk, Darien, New Canaan and Wilton areas only.  All other areas outside of top-50)

District of Columbia

Washington, DC


Baker, Broward, Clay, Duval, Hernando, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Nassau, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, St. Johns, Seminole


Barrow, Bartow, Carroll, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Newton, Paulding, Pickens, Rockdale, Spaulding, Walton


Clinton, Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, Madison, McHenry, Monroe, St. Clair, Will


Boone, Dearborn, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Lake, Marion, Morgan, Ohio, Porter, Shelby


Johnson, Leavenworth, Miami, Wyandotte


Boone, Campbell, Gallatin, Grant, Kenton, Pendleton


Jefferson, Lafourche, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Washington


Anne Arundel, Baltimore (city and county), Calvert, Carroll, Charles, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George's, Queen Anne's


Bristol, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, Westchester, Worcester (northern portion of the county – the city of Worcester and surrounding area is not in the top-50 urban area)


Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, Wayne


Anoka, Carver, Chicago, Dakota, Hennepin, Isanti, Ramsey, Scott, Sherburne (eastern portion including Becker, Big Lake, Elk River and Zimmerman but not including St. Cloud), Washington, Wright


Pearl River


Cass, Clay, Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lincoln, Platte, Ray, St. Charles, St. Louis (city and county), Warren



New Hampshire

Hillsborough (most of county except Manchester, Goffstown and Bedford)

New Jersey

Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Union

New York

Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Queens, Putnam, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Westchester

North Carolina

Alamance, Anson, Cabarrus, Chatham, Cleveland, Davidson, Davie, Durham, Forsyth, Franklin, Gaston, Guildford, Iredell, Johnston, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Orange, Randolph, Rowan, Stanly, Stokes, Union, Wake, Yadkin


Brown, Butler, Clermont, Cuyahoga, Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Geauga, Hamilton, Lake, Licking, Lorain, Madison, Medina, Pickaway, Union, Warren


Canadian, Cleveland, Grady, Kingfisher, Lincoln, Logan, McClain, Oklahoma, Pottawatomie, Seminole


Clackamas, Marion, Multnomah, Washington, Yamhill


Allegheny, Bucks, Butler, Beaver, Chester, Delaware, Fayette, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Washington, Westmoreland

Puerto Rico

See information below about Puerto Rico

Rhode Island

All areas

South Carolina

Chester, Lancaster, York


Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Robertson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, Wilson


Atascosa, Austin, Bandera, Bastrop, Bexar, Brazoria, Caldwell, Chambers, Collin, Comal, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Fort Bend, Galveston, Guadalupe, Harris, Hays, Hood, Johnson, Kaufman, Kendall, Liberty, Medina, Montgomery, Parker, Polk, Rockwall, San Jacinto, Tarrant, Travis, Waller, Williamson, Wilson, Wise


Davis, Salt Lake, Tooele, Utah, Weber


Arlington, Alexandria, Chesapeake, Fairfax, Gloucester, James City, Loudoun, Newport News, Norfolk, Prince William, Stafford, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, York


Clark, Island, King, Kitsap, Pierce, Snohomish, Thurston


Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Pierce, Racine, St. Croix, Washington, Waukesha

LPFM stations in Puerto Rico

11/19/2023: Based on recent Commission actions regarding LPFM stations in Puerto Rico, REC has launched an inquiry into the urban market status of Puerto Rico.  

While Nielsen Audio does consider the entire territory as a top-50 urban market for survey purposes, that specific designation is not recognized by the FCC.  

For full-service radio, the FCC does not consider Puerto Rico as a market and uses the contour overlap rules for determining media ownership.  See 2014 Quadrennial Report and Order at paras. 111-112.  In that decision, the FCC recognizes the territory's extremely mountainous topography, large number of radio stations and station owners and the division into eight (now six) Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) which are defined by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to conclude that there are more centers of economic activity than just a single market.

However, for LPFM, the FCC has recognized that Puerto Rico (at least San Juan) is a Top-50 metro area.  See LPFM Fourth Report and Order (2012).  In Exhibit A, for the purposes of the "channel points" used in the establishment of protections for future LPFM opportunities upon the passage of the LCRA and dealing with the pending applications from the 2003 "Great Translator Invasion" filing window, the FCC considered "Puerto Rico" as Market #14 and in the raw data provided in connection with that proceeding, they centered the 31 x 31 minute grid around San Juan.  This would suggest that the Commission would recognize San Juan as a top-50 urban area.  

In a recent Memorandum Opinion and Order, the FCC stated that the community of Caguas is not a Top-50 urbanized area.  For the reasons foregoing, REC Networks disagrees with that determination.

Puerto Rico is divided up into political boundaries called "municipios".  The municipio is the "county level" entity within the territory.

Our position on the status of Puerto Rico is that the area defined in OMB Bulletin 23-01 (July 21, 2023) as the San Juan-Bayamon-Caguas, Puerto Rico MSA should be considered as a Top-50 urban market where the "10 mile" rules would apply.  The population of this MSA is greater than the Nielsen survey area 12+ population for Market #50 (New Orleans). 

All other areas in Puerto Rico outside of this MSA should be considered as not in the top-50 urban area, thus applying the "20 mile" rules.  

This is a position that we are proposing to the FCC for clarification.  

The following municipios are in the San Juan-Bayamon-Caguas MSA and therefore should be considered as a top-50 urban market applying the "10 mile" rules:

  • Aguas Buenas
  • Aibonito
  • Barceloneta
  • Barranquitas
  • Bayamon
  • Caguas
  • Canovanas
  • Carolina
  • Catano
  • Cayey
  • Ceiba
  • Cieles
  • Cidra
  • Comerio
  • Corozal
  • Dorado
  • Fajardo
  • Florida
  • Guaynbo
  • Gurabo
  • Humacao
  • Juncos
  • Las Piedras
  • Loiza
  • Luquillo
  • Manati
  • Maunabo
  • Morovis
  • Naguabo
  • Naranjito
  • Orocovis
  • Rio Grande
  • San Juan
  • San Lorenzo
  • Toa Alta
  • Toa Baja
  • Trujillo Alto
  • Vega Alta
  • Vega Baja
  • Yabucoa

San Juan-Bayamon-Caguas MSA map

In REC's proposed position, any municipio not on the above list would be considered not in a top-50 urban area and therefore the "20 mile" rules would apply.