Translator Market Comes Out of the Shadows

Playing end-of semester catchup: the Clear Channel-owned trade publication Inside Radio recently published an article quoting a station-appraiser who likens the booming market for FM translators to the birth of the Internet. Documents for more than three dozen translator sales have been filed with the FCC this year, compared to just three at this time in 2012.
Single translator stations are now regularly sold for tens of thousands of dollars, and can fetch even more if they’re within spitting distance of major markets. This results in a market for FM translator spectrum potentially worth millions of dollars per year. (Clear Channel itself is quite invested in the translator market, especially when it comes to simulcasting its AM stations.)
The market for translators will only grow once the FCC approves "substantially more" than 1,000 new-station applications still pending from the Great Translator Invasion of 2003. To put the growth of this market into perspective, keep in mind that the FCC’s station totals report more than 5,000 FM translators on the air, compared to 802 LPFM stations. The majority of those translators are less than 10 years old.
The product of rampant speculation on the part of (mostly) religious broadcasters, the FM translator market is finally out of the shadows, and all signs point to the FCC modifying the service’s rules to encourage its growth.