47 CFR 73.1740 - Minimum operating schedule.
(a) All commercial broadcast stations are required to operate not less than the following minimum hours:
(1) AM and FM stations. Two-thirds of the total hours they are authorized to operate between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. local time and two-thirds of the total hours they are authorized to operate between 6 p.m. and midnight, local time, each day of the week except Sunday.
(i) Class D stations which have been authorized nighttime operations need comply only with the minimum requirements for operation between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., local time.
(2) TV stations.
(i) During the first 36 months of operation, not less than 2 hours daily in any 5 broadcast days per calendar week and not less than a total of:
(A) 12 hours per week during the first 18 months.
(B) 16 hours per week during the 19th through 24th months.
(C) 20 hours per week during the 25th through 30th months.
(D) 24 hours per week during the 31st through 36th months.
(ii) After 36 months of operation, not less than 2 hours in each day of the week and not less than a total of 28 hours per calendar week.
(iii) Visual transmissions of test patterns, slides, or still pictures accompanied by unrelated aural transmissions may not be counted in computing program service (see § 73.653).
(3) “Operation” includes the period during which the station is operated pursuant to temporary authorization or program tests, as well as during the license period.
(4) In the event that causes beyond the control of a licensee make it impossible to adhere to the operating schedule of this section or to continue operating, the station may limit or discontinue operation for a period of not more than 30 days without further authority from the FCC. Notification must be sent to the FCC in Washington, D.C. not later than the 10th day of limited or discontinued operation. During such period, the licensee shall continue to adhere to the requirements in the station license pertaining to the lighting of antenna structures. In the event normal operation is restored prior to the expiration of the 30 day period, the licensee will so notify the FCC of this date. If the causes beyond the control of the licensee make it impossible to comply within the allowed period, informal written request shall be made to the FCC no later than the 30th day for such additional time as may be deemed necessary.
(5) Class A TV stations. Not less than 18 hours in each day of the week.
(b) Noncommercial educational AM and TV stations are not required to operate on a regular schedule and no minimum hours of operation are specified; but the hours of actual operation during a license period shall be taken into consideration in the renewal of noncommercial educational AM and TV broadcast licenses. Noncommercial educational FM stations are subject to the operating schedule requirements according to the provisions of § 73.561.
(c) The license of any broadcasting station that fails to transmit broadcast signals for any consecutive 12-month period expires as a matter of law at the end of that period, notwithstanding any provision, term, or condition of the license to the contrary.