Buy the print and get FREE access to our online edition!

Tech Forum

May 2017

FCC Search

Has anyone had any success using the FCC ID search feature? I’ve searched about 15 ID numbers and have yet to get any useful info!

Stuart Hughes
Griffin, GA


On web page enter the FCC Facility ID Number which is usually 4 or 5 digits. Note this is NOT the >>> FAA <<< tower number which is often shown on signs posted at tower sites.

For example, I entered 9642 and it properly brought up: WCCO AM 830 kHz ND1 Unlimited A A LIC MINNEAPOLIS MN US BL-- 50.0 kW 9642 CBS RADIO MEDIA CORPORATION with a link location of: This link showed a web page with: “WCCO MN MINNEAPOLIS” and with all kinds of details and links.

Mark Peterson
Plymouth, MN

So let’s say you are motoring about the countryside one fine day and you spot an interesting tower structure. Look around the entrance area and you should see a sign with the FCC Tower Identification Number on it. Let’s use number 1027514 as an example. Go onto and:

  1. Click the Licensing and Databases tab. You’ll be presented with a list of about 25 databases listed by their acronyms. Some of them are intuitive. Others, not so much.
  2. In this case, Click on ASR (for Antenna Structure Registration). Partway down the page you’ll find Search with a choice of either Registrations or Applications.
  3. Click on Registrations and a new window opens. In the upper left corner is a field you enter the registration number. While you’re here, you can check out the other possible searches such as lat/lon, by state, etc.
  4. Enter the registration number and hit Submit. Note that this takes a whole lot longer to describe than to actually do it. A new window opens with the results, typically one line, but a fact-filled line. We now know the FCC File Number, the owner (in this case, WLAJ-TV), lat/lon, city and tower height in meters (307 meters or a little over 1000 feet). By the way, you can also get here by going to where the good folks at Cavell, Mertz and Associates have an easy-to-use database front end and a nifty Google Earth plug-in that will give you the callsign for a station associated with a broadcast tower. Note - broadcast, not cell, two-way or other utility tower.
  5. On the ASR Results page, click on the Registration Number. A new window opens, chock full of good information.

Another way to go about this is on the FCC home page, click on ‘browse by Bureaus & Offices’ then on the Media sub-tab. The Media home page will appear. Now, along the left side you will be presented with a list of choices. You want CDBS Search. You’ll then be presented with another list of choices which should be fairly self-explanatory. As an example, choose the first selection which is Search for Station Information (as of the date I’m doing this). The new window is a whole bunch of search fields but to keep it simple the first line is Call Sign. In that field, enter the call letters. Pick your station of interest and type it in there. Example - WLW and hit the Submit Station Search button. A new window opens with the results, which are fairly skimpy at this point. But on the far right of the results is a link labeled Click for Details. Another results window opens with more links to more information. But now we can get into the good stuff.

On the Bureaus & Offices / Media home page, select Electronic Filing and Databases along the left side. The new page that opens offers another list of choices, one of which is AM Query, among others. Hit that one and a new query search opens. On the first line enter WLW. Further down, just above the Results buttons you choose how much information you want. Choose the AM Query (detailed output + CDBS Links) menu item and hit either the Results To This Page/Tab or the Results To Next Page/Tab buttons, depending on your preference. You’ll get everything you ever wanted and more. If you’ve got the time, you can easily spend hours looking up all kinds of arcane things.

Jerry McCarty
Jackson, MI