1. Cady36
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    Cady36 Member

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    Fictional Radio Station call sign.

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Cady36, Feb 19, 2009.

    In a story I'm working on, I need a fictional blues station in Portland, Oregon. Obviously, I don't want to use something that exists. Does anyone know of a database of call sign letters or something like that? Or are there rules I can follow that I can slightly break and make it work? (e.g. call signs are always 3 or 4 letters, and never 5 letters, so if I make it SOUND like a radio station, but make it five letters I'm safe.)

    I've done a few Google searches but the results have been pretty ambiguous.

    Thanks, C.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I don't know of a central registry, but I haven't tried googling for it either. Have you?

    Also, there may be community or business association sites for the Portland area that list radio stations in the area, along with what type of programming they offer.

    In the United States, all radio call signs used to begin with K or W. I think this rule was relaxed sometime in the last decade or two, but I'm not certain.
     
  3. Cady36
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    Cady36 Member

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    I did search, but the databases that I've found online are the kind whre you enter in a location and it give you the letters OR you enter in the letters and it gives you the location. I'd need the whole list or need to make sure I was "breaking the rules" on how the call sign is built.

    Haven't tried searching with "Central Registry" - I'll give that a shot.

    Even though I'm creating a fictional PDX station, I need to make sure the call letters aren't used anywhere, if you see what I mean. (If I thought hard, I could probably remember a chunk of PDX stations - I was raised in that area.)
     
  4. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Simple...apply for your own radio station license. Shouldn't cost much and they will issue you a unique license which you can then use in your book. I believe many college campuses do this for their small school-based "radio stations" so it can't be expensive...or difficult.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    wouldn't just googling the call sign you think up give you a yes or no on whether it's already in use?
     
  6. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not necessarily...there are many station id's that have been issued over the years and are owned, yet left dormant for future use. What if you inadvertently used such dormant call letters and only to receive a lawsuit for infringement? I still think that if I was going to write a book in which a radio station played a prominent role, I'd just purchase my own call letters and pay the renewals for a couple years...until the book was out of print or sales fell off. Plus, imagine how much you could lease the right to those call letters for if your book became a blockbuster! LOL
     
  7. Vayda
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    Vayda Senior Member

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    If your station is in Portland, start it with a W. Stations that start with W are east of the Mississippi, stations that start with a K are to the west. Station calls almost always contain the city so even if you used a station that exists somewhere on the east coast, I don't think it would matter. I think if you said "WKLS Portland" it would be okay, even though there is a WKLS Atlanta.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    so, why not just use a call sign that does not start with either w or k?... after all, it's fiction, isn't it?
     
  9. love2listen
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    love2listen Member

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    radio stations are assigned call letters by the FCC......I'm pretty sure. they are the ones in charge of radio stations. so I'd consult their web site, or call them

    I think you'd be safer with a name, like, there are hundreds of stations called KISS FM for example.
     

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