Sometimes, a station uses it’s call letters — KDWB, WABC, KOIT — and it’s fairly easy to suss out which station it is. But maybe your town has a station that calls itself “Star” or “KISS FM” or “Z100” or whatever. Believe it or not, so does pretty much every other town in America. So, a lot of times, the only way to tell for sure exactly what station you’re listening to is its’ legal ID.
Simply put, the legal ID is a station’s legal call letters, followed by the city the station is licensed to. The only things permissible between the calls and the COL are the licensee’s name, the frequency and the channel number. If a station is simulcast, you have to give the frequency in each station’s ID.
[Code of Federal Regulations]
[Title 47, Volume 4, Parts 70 to 79]
[Revised as of October 1, 2000]
TITLE 47–TELECOMMUNICATIONCHAPTER I–FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS
COMMISSION (Continued) PART 73–RADIO BROADCAST SERVICES–Table of Contents Subpart H–Rules Applicable to All Broadcast Stations Sec. 73.1201 Station identification.
(a) When regularly required. Broadcast station identification announcements shall be made:
(1) At the beginning and ending of each time of operation, and
(2) Hourly, as close to the hour as feasible, at a natural break in program offerings. Television and Class A television broadcast stations may make these announcements visually or aurally.
(1) Official station identification shall consist of the station’s call letters immediately followed by the community or communities specified in its license as the station’s location: Provided, That the name of the licensee or the station’s frequency or channel number, or both, as stated on the station’s license may be inserted between the call letters and station location. No other insertion is permissible.
(2) A station may include in its official station identification the name of any additional community or communities, but the community to which the station is licensed must be named first.
(1) General. Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, in making the identification announcement the call letters shall be given only on the channel identified thereby.
(2) Simultaneous AM (535-1605 kHz) and AM (1605-1705 kHz) broadcasts. If the same licensee operates an AM broadcast station in the 535-1605 kHz band and an AM broadcast station in the 1605-1705 kHz band with both stations licensed to the same community and simultaneously broadcasts the same programs over the facilities of both such stations, station identification announcements may be made jointly for both stations for periods of such simultaneous operations.
(3) Satellite operation. When programming of a broadcast station is rebroadcast simultaneously over the facilities of a satellite station, the originating station may make identification announcements for the satellite station for periods of such simultaneous operation.
(i) In the case of a television broadcast station, such announcements, in addition to the information required by paragraph (b)(1) of this section, shall include the number of the channel on which each station is operating.
(ii) In the case of aural broadcast stations, such announcements, in addition to the information required by paragraph (b)(1) of this section, shall include the frequency on which each station is operating.
(d) Subscription television stations (STV).
The requirements for official station identification applicable to TV stations will apply to Subscription TV stations except, during STV-encoded programming such station identification is not required. However, a station identification announcement will be made immediately prior to and following the encoded Subscription TV program period.
[34 FR 19762, Dec. 17, 1969, as amended at 37 FR 23726, Nov. 8, 1972; 39 FR 6707, Feb. 22, 1974; 39 FR 9442, Mar. 11, 1974; 41 FR 29394, July 16, 1976; 47 FR 3791, Jan. 27, 1982; 48 FR 51308, Nov. 8, 1983; 56 FR 64872, Dec. 12, 1991; 65 FR 30003, May 10, 2000]