The frequency of an FM broadcast station (more strictly its assigned nominal center frequency) is usually an exact multiple of 100 kHz. In most of South Korea, the Americas, the Philippines and the Caribbean, only odd multiples are used. In some parts of Europe, Greenland and Africa, only even multiples are used. In the UK odd or even are used. In Italy, multiples of 50 kHz are used.
There are other unusual and obsolete FM broadcasting standards in some countries, including 1, 10, 30, 74, 500, and 300 kHz. However, to minimise inter-channel interference, stations operating from the same or geographically close transmitter sites tend to keep to at least a 500 kHz frequency separation even when closer frequency spacing is technically permitted, with closer tunings reserved for more distantly spaced transmitters, as potentially interfering signals are already more attenuated and so have less effect on neighboring frequencies.
Frequency modulation or FM is a form of modulation which conveys information by varying the frequency of a carrier wave; the older amplitude modulation or AM varies the amplitude of the carrier, with its frequency remaining constant. With FM, frequency deviation from the assigned carrier frequency at any instant is directly proportional to the amplitude of the input signal, determining the instantaneous frequency of the transmitted signal. Because transmitted FM signals use more bandwidth than AM signals, this form of modulation is commonly used with the higher (VHF or UHF) frequencies used by TV, the FM broadcast band, and land mobile radio systems.
Random noise has a triangular spectral distribution in an FM system, with the effect that noise occurs predominantly at the highest audio frequencies within the baseband. This can be offset, to a limited extent, by boosting the high frequencies before transmission and reducing them by a corresponding amount in the receiver. Reducing the high audio frequencies in the receiver also reduces the high-frequency noise. These processes of boosting and then reducing certain frequencies are known as pre-emphasis and de-emphasis, respectively.