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  CDBS DTV Station Search

Frequently Asked Questions about CDBS DTV Station Search

General Usage Questions

    What is this search page for?

    How do I search?

    Which criteria are required?

    Why am I getting an error message?

    Why can't I find the station I am looking for?

    How do I get help?

    How do I interpret the results?

    What does "Operating with reduced power" mean?


Definitions of Search Criteria

Other Questions

    How is this search page different from the CDBS Station Search page?

    What is CDBS?

    How can I get more information?

 



General Usage Questions

What is this search page for?

This is a simplified search page that provides an easy way to search the FCC Media Bureau's CDBS database for information about Digital (and Analog) Television stations. It provides information about whether stations are operating, and if so, whether they are currently broadcasting analog or digital signals or both, and on what channels.

How do I search?

Enter search criteria in the fields and press the "Submit DTV Search" button at the bottom of the page. The field values will be combined to search for stations that match all of the criteria. Use the * as a wildcard character when the exact string value is not known (for example, use a Call Sign of WAB* to query for stations with Call Signs that begin with the characters "WAB".) Note: The wildcard character should not be used in the State field (use the appropriate two character state abbreviation) or the numeric valued fields (such as Channel).

Which criteria are required?

You can use any criteria. Use the information that you know, and if too many stations are returned, add more criteria until you can easily find the stations you are looking for. Note: You cannot submit a database search without any criteria (to return all data from the entire database).

Why am I getting an error message?

The system attempts to validate the search criteria before looking in the database for information. For some fields, the wildcard character is not allowed and you will get an error if you try to use it. Remember that the only wildcard character allowed on this search page is '*' (not '%', which is used by other CDBS search pages). For some fields, a numeric value is required (or you can leave them blank).

Why can't I find the station I am looking for?

Sometimes the database contains incomplete data (for example, for Network Affiliation and Nielsen DMA) which could cause stations to be missing from a results list. Call Sign is a good criteria to use (especially with the wildcard character '*' since you may not know if a station has a "-TV" on the end of its Call Sign. Also you may not know the exact community of license City and may have to do a more general State search first.

How do I get help?

Hypertext links are available at certain places on the search screen (for example, field labels). By clicking on a link, the Help file (you are reading it now) is opened in your browser window. The window is positioned at the appropriate location in the documentation that covers the topic. To resume filling out the search screen, use your browser's Back command.

How do I interpret the results?

One row will be output for each station that matches the search criteria. Each row can include analog and digital information since stations can be broadcasting both. The first column of the output is Channel, which is usually the channel that people are looking for. It reflects the channel of the station when it is (or was) broadcasting analog over the air. It is also the first part of the channel on a digital television or Digital-to-Analog Converter Box. For example a station that used to broadcast on channel 7 in analog, may be broadcasting on channel 8 digitally, but a digital television and converter box would show it as 7-1 or 7.1 (or 7-2 or 7.2, etc). (FYI: The second digit represents the digital stream that is being used (some stations may transmit more than one)). For stations that are only digital, it reflects their digital channel. "Operating" means that the station is licensed to operate (analog or digital) and is broadcasting on the indicated channel.

What does "Operating with reduced power" mean?

Some TV stations have requested and received Special Temporary Authority (STA) to construct and operate their digital facilities with different specifications (e.g., reduced power) than their post transition digital facilities. These stations are identified as "Operating with reduced power".

 

Definitions of Search Criteria

Call Sign

A Call Sign is a set of characters that serve as the public identification for a broadcast radio or television station. For example, WCAU or WGBS-TV. Values are converted to upper case for searches since this field is stored in upper case in the database. You can use wildcard characters (*).

Virtual Channel

The number displayed on a television set (or DTV converter box) for a DTV station. For most stations, it is the same as their old pre-DTV Transition analog channel number in order to make them easier to find and tune to. When a station is multicasting, the additional channels are displayed as extra numbers following a dash (-) or dot (.) after the virtual channel number (e.g. 26-1, 26-2, 26-3). Note that this may not be same as its channel on a subscription service like cable or satellite television. It must be an integer with a value from 2 to 69 (or blank).

Community of License City

The Community of License is the principal community that is served by the station. The City value will be converted to upper case when the database is searched. You can use the wildcard character '*' in this field.

Community of License State

The Community of License is the principal community that is served by the station. The State field should contain the standard two-character abbreviation for the state. Do not use any wildcard characters for this field.

Network Affiliation

The network that a station has reported in its most recent Form 387 filing. Note: This data may be incomplete (if there were no filings) or if the field was blank on the Form 387. You can use the wildcard character '*' in this field.

Nielsen DMA

The DMA that a station has reported in its most recent Form 388 filing. Note: This data may be incomplete (if there were no filings) or if the field was blank on the Form 388. A Designated Market Area (DMA) is a group of counties in the United States that are covered by a specific group of television stations. The term was coined by Nielsen Media Research and they control the trademark on it. The approximately 200 DMAs in the United States are available to select from a drop down list.

Facility Identifier

The unique integer number (assigned by the FCC Media Bureau) that identifies a station.

Include Low Power and Class A Stations

A checkbox that indicates that searches should also return information about low power television services (LPTV and Class A). They are not included by default.

Other Questions

How is this search page different from the CDBS Station Search page?

The CDBS Station Search page is a more complex searching mechanism that allows additional search criteria. DTV Search was simplified to only contain criteria that most people want to use when looking for television station information. In addition, this search is limited to television while CDBS Station Search also includes radio services.

What is CDBS?

The FCC Media Bureau (MB) is responsible for licensing broadcast services in the Unites States. The licensing information for broadcast radio (AM and FM) and television (TV, LPTV, and DTV) is contained in a database management system named CDBS (for Consolidated Database System). This system contains the broadcast applications that were electronically filed to the FCC as well as migrated data from applications that were submitted to the FCC on paper that had been stored in previous MB database systems. CDBS includes an electronic
filing module and a public access search module. For more information, see http://www.fcc.gov/mb/cdbs.html .

How can I get more information?

Further information about the CDBS database, electronic filing, and public access searches can be found by starting at the CDBS Home Page at http://www.fcc.gov/mb/cdbs.html. For technical assistance or to report problems with CDBS or this search page, send an email to cdbshelp@fcc.gov, or call 202-418-2662.

For more information about the DTV Transition, visit the Commission's digital television website at: http://www.dtv.gov or call the Federal Communications Commission at 1-888-225-5322 (TTY: 1-888-835-5322).


Last modified October 5, 2008