WIDE-FM: Radio's Overdue Expansion

WIDE-FM is REC's Petition for Rulemaking to the Federal Communications Commission to extend the FM broadcast band to include the spectrum from 76 to 88 MHz, which will create 60 new channels for FM sound broadcasting.

In REC's 2022 WIDE-FM Plan, we propose to create 20 channels that will be reserved for new Class A, C3 and C2 noncommercial educational (NCE) FM broadcast stations thus doubling the size of the already crowded NCE reserved band from 88 to 92 MHz.  

WIDE-FM is designed to provide full protections to all remaining full-service TV and Class A RF Channel 5 and 6 facilities including those in Canada and Mexico. 

WIDE-FM will be available for full-service NCE stations in most of the country unless inhibited by the presence of both existing Channel 5 and 6 stations at a certain location.

In areas that are affected by full-service and Class A Channel 6 stations, but not affected by full-service and Class A Channel 5 stations, the frequencies 77.1 through 80.9 will be used for full-service NCE stations.

In some areas of the country that are affected by both Channel 5 and 6 staitons, full-service NCE will not be available.

WIDE-FM also has provisions for new LPFM stations (even in many areas where full-service NCE stations are not available) as well as FM translators and the potential for extremely low power (ELP) FM transmitters for special event and seasonal sports use.  We have also opened a discussion on the use of (non-booster) single frequency networks. 

Provisions were also recommended in the event the FCC wishes to retain the commercial use of 87.7 that was established by the proliferation of FM6 (Franken-FM) stations, which are actually secondary Low Power TV stations. 

Proposed a concept where the first series of filing windows for new WIDE-FM NCE stations be done through a table of allotments in order to assure an orderly launch of the service in a manner consistent with the statutory mandate for fair distribution of broadcast licenses.


A public information site has been set up to explain the plan and give the beneifts for the various sectors of potential WIDE-FM users:


A public tool, which is still under active devleopment will show the allotments available at a particular location and will eventually be expanded to show LPFM, FM Translator, ELP and dialscape information:


An advanced tool at REC which can be used to view the results of the Channel Loading Exercise, which includes the proposed allotments, potential FM6 allotments, suggested foreign allotments, TV facilities and hypothetical LPFM facilities (some of which could be FM translators).  Includes the ability to get a channel report from the reference coordinates for the allotment and includes a map showing the allotment compared with other co-channel, first and second adjacent channel allotments:



Documentation from the ITU, CITEL and foreign administrations that were used in the preparation of the proposal can be found at our ITU and Other International Documents page.