May 16, 2022

Reference: FCC Launches TV Station Profiles/Public Inspection Files Database (With Political Ad Info)

These files include information on sponsored political advertising airing on tv stations in the Top 50 tv markets.

The data (at least at this point) is also NOT keyword searchable. In other words, if you’re looking for a specific name you will have to access and review each potential document. Hopefully, this will change…soon.

Users enter a stations call letters, channel number, or facility ID and then browse for data.

Direct to Database

Types of data available include:

+ License Information
+ Applications
+ Ownership Reports
+ Equal Opportunity Employment Records
+ Contour Maps
+ Political Files
+ Children’s TV Programming Reports
+ Time Brokerage Agreements
+ FCC Investigations
+ Much More


+ Political Records from WJLA (Washington DC)
+ Ownership Reports From KPIX (San Francisco)


Political Ad Data Comes Online — But It’s Not Searchable (via ProPublica)
Overview plus a look at several limitations of the database. Very useful read.

FCC Rule Sheds New Light on Political Ads (via National Journal)

What’s not going to be covered? Advertising deals that were concluded before August 2, regardless of when the ads are intended to run; ads on cable; ads that run on broadcast stations not in the top 50 TV markets. Kathy Kiely, managing editor of the Sunlight Foundation, notes that in the current election cycle, the disclosed information won’t give a true picture of ad spending. “There are key cities in swing states that are not going to have to be disclosed,” she said.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.