Station Location Help

The broadcast station location page is a search engine for AM, FM, TV, and other broadcast stations. Searches for broadcast stations by location, frequency, or call sign, and generates a plain-text, tabular, or graphical map of the stations found. A link to detailed information on each station is also provided.

Instructions -- the quick start edition

The Broadcast Station Location Page is located at When you get there, you'll be able to specify several search parameters. You'll have to provide either a location or a frequency range field to limit the number of stations returned by a search; the rest of the settings are all optional.

Specifying a Location

A location can be selected in any of several ways:

By Latitude and Longitude

This is the most fundamental type of location specification, and the one into which the other methods must ultimately be resolved.

Any of several lat/lon formats can be used to specify a location. For example, my home town could be specified as:

as well as a few other variations. When in doubt, try it out. Another format might work, and if not you'll just get an error message.

By US City

Since people seldom know their latitude and longitude, but frequently know what city and state they're in, a position can be specified, albeit it roughly, by entering the city. If a city name isn't unique, it can be followed by a state name or two-letter post office state abbreviation. So if I specified my location as: I'll get an error message listing the several different Pasadenas in the gazetteer. To disambiguate these, I can enter either: Note that capitalization is insignificant, that the state or province must be separated from the city by a comma, and that either the full state name or the two character state abbreviation can be used. Note also that the gazetteer being used lists mainly large and mid-sized towns and cities in the US, Canada, and Mexico, and that if a city isn't contained in the gazetteer, its location cannot be determined. Sorry, that's life.

By Zip Code

Although using a city to specify a location is convenient, it's also generally quite imprecise, particularly when a major metropolitan area is specified. A smaller region that people are also generally familiar with is the area covered by their zip code. Although zip codes aren't really meant to specify a geospatial coverage region, they can be pressed into this service with a suitable zip code to lat-lon database, as is done here.

So yet another way to supply the location of my home would be to enter the zip code as either:

Note that only the five digit form of zip codes are available in the database in use, so while the nine digit form will be cheerfully accepted, the last four digits will be just as cheerfully ignored.

By Callsign

Finally, in some cases you might be interested in all the stations near some other station. To allow for this, a station callsign can be entered in the location field. A couple of good stations near me include: Note that here too case is insignificant, and that any AM, FM, or TV suffix or any suffix beginning with a hyphen will be ignored in performing the station search, and that if there's more than one entry for a station, the location of the first station is used. Note also that WRNR is just about the coolest callsign that a Rock 'n' Roll radio station could possibly have.

Selecting the Type of Display

There are four display options available. The stations found can be displayed as an HTML table, as plain text, as preformatted text, or as a full color map of the locations of the stations found during the search.

An HTML Table

This is the main form of display for the information retrieved from a search. A one line summary is provided for each station found. Included is the station's call sign, frequency or channel, antenna information, power level, location, and the distance and bearing to the transmitter.

The stations found are sorted first by frequency. If more than a single station is found on a given frequency, the stations sharing the frequency are then sorted by either distance, power, or antenna height, as selected by the other options settings.

Each station's callsign provides a hyperlink to a display of detailed information on that station. In addition to all of the information included in the tabular station summary, this page provides several additional items of information on the station such as the station's owner, any comments entered for the station by the FCC, and a graphical display of the radiation pattern for the station's antenna.

Plain Text or Preformatted Text

These text forms of display present the same information described for the HTML table display above, but presented in a plain text format. These are provided just in case anyone is still using a browser so old that it doesn't support tables, or if the output is to be captured and used for some other purpose. Normally, the HTML table display will be preferred.

A Location Map

By selecting a map display, a very nice full color map of the stations located in the search will be displayed. A location mark will be provided by each station, with the callsign of the station adjacent to its location mark. Unfortunately, the station callsigns can really clutter up the map if a large number of stations are selected for display.

By clicking on a location in the map, an HTML table of all the stations found near that location will be generated. This gives you a way to zoom in on the stations in an area of interest.

Setting Other Options

There are a few other things that can be adjusted when specifying a search. Generally, the defaults provided are good choices, but you may want to fine tune things here once you've done a search or two to get the feel of things.

Limiting the Range of a Search

Searches are by default restricted to stations within 100 Km of a location, which is roughly how far you can normally expect to receive most types of broadcast stations. You can adjust this to suit your reception conditions and level of optimism.

Changing the units of measure from the default units of kilometers to statute or nautical miles effects not only the range but also the units of measure used in the display of the distance to each station.

Limiting the Channels or Frequencies Searched

If a channel number or frequency is entered in this field, the search will be restricted to stations broadcasting on this frequency. The channel or frequency must be entered in the same format displayed in the frequency column of the tables. This would be

A range of frequencies or channels can be specified by entering two frequencies or channels as described above, separated by a hyphen. Either end of this range can be omitted to restrict the search to the upper or lower end of the band in question. This allows searched to be restricted to

Limiting the Number of Stations per Frequency

By default, only the two nearest stations on each frequency are included in the search results. This can be altered by changing the number entered in this field.

Changing the Station Sort Order

Normally stations on the same frequency are sorted by distance. This can be changed to sort by power or antenna height. This effects which stations are included in the search results display, and the order in which the stations are listed in the station tabulations.

I'd like to be able to sort by expected signal strength at the receiving site, where this is computed as a function of the distance, effective radiated power, antenna height and radiation pattern, and whatever else is applicable. I haven't gotten around to figuring out how to do this yet, though. If anyone has a good algorithm for this, please drop me a note. I'd be really pleased to add it to the server code.

Finding all Stations on a Channel

If you're interested in generating a listing of all of the stations on a specific frequency, enter your location as usual, specify the frequency of interest, and crank the Distance and Stations per Channel fields up to the max. You might also want to change the Sort Order from its default of Nearest to Most Powerful.

Data Sources

None of this would have been possible without several databases and supports sites. In the interest of providing credit where credit is due, and in case anyone else is interested in making use of these same resources, I've listed all of the bits and pieces here.

Broadcast Station Database Files

This series of database files is available through the courtesy of the FCC.

Map Services

Courtesy of the Census Bureau's TMS server.


Courtesy of the Census Bureau's TMS server.

Related Resources

Here are some other similar radio station location pages that you might enjoy visiting as well.

If you know of any other services that you think should be added to this list, please let me know about them.

Broadcast Station Location Page
A search engine for AM, FM, and TV broadcast stations based on the FCC's engineering databases. Performs geospatial searches with a wide assortment of sorting and search restriction options. Displays tabular station summary data, detailed station information, or maps showing locations of all stations meeting the specified search criteria.

Airwaves FCC Search Engine
A search engine for the AM and FM broadcast bands based on the FCC's engineering database. Features a tabular display of station information, and a link to a map of each station's location.

Welcome to From Elliott Broadcast Services
And yet another search engine for the AM and FM broadcast bands based on the FCC's engineering database. Offers a keyword search capability. Features a detailed display of station information, and a link to a map of each station's location.

FCC Mass Media Bureau Audio Services Division FM Query
The authoritative source -- ask the FCC themselves. Allows queries for FM stations by callsign or file number.

FCC FM Engineering Database Query
This page permits you to inspect the contents of the FCC FM Engineering database, using the station call letters as your search string. You can also use the form st QQ, where QQ is a two-letter state abbreviation, to list all stations in a state.

Werner Funkenhauser's WHAMLOG Page
WHAMLOG (c) 1995-1997 by Werner Funkenhauser, is a collection of files of information extracted from a database of more than 21,000+ records that includes information about most AM radio stations in the Western Hemisphere. The WHAMLOG series of files reduces the data in the FCC's database to a size that is more manageable by DXers because only relevant DX information is extracted.

The MIT List of Radio Stations on the Internet
This page lists all known sites on the Internet that publish information about broadcast radio stations. It is unique in that it also lists FM-cable and AM carrier-current stations.

Source Code

I've put the source code for the station location page on my FTP site. You can download a copy from my FTP site, which is located at

Things to do...

The Broadcast Station Location web page is brought to you by:

John Kodis, who will gladly receive comments, criticisms, or suggestions sent to
Last updated Saturday, 1997 May 31