Low-Power Television

4 April 2015
Definition, origins, administrative & management positions, advantages & limitations, economics, access, examples and regulations.

Low power television (LPTV) has been in existence since 1980 and immediately spawned thousands of applications, so that by 1984 there were some 250 such stations in operation, 150 of them in Alaska. Yet, many Americans have no knowledge of these stations at all. The intent of the FCC was to fill the television needs of small-town and rural America, areas unable to support expensive stations. Full power stations have a signal that reaches between 50 and 60 miles, while LPTV stations reach between 10 and 15 miles. A full power station costs about $2.5 million to $3 million to launch, while an LPTV station can cost about $300,000 to launch. Similarly, the advertising rates are lower on LPTV stations, making them attractive for that purpose in small communities. From the first, though, there were problems with the allure of LPTV, but the stations proliferated..

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