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Author Topic: AM broadcast radio  (Read 16384 times)
KB1LKR
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Posts: 1898




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« on: September 09, 2013, 10:23:34 AM »

New York Times: A Quest to Save AM Radio...

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/09/us/a-quest-to-save-am-radio-before-its-lost-in-the-static.html?smid=pl-share

Seems to me, nostalgia aside, that the propigation characteristics of MF AM radio make it important to keep, also, IBOC was a mistake)
Thoughts?

See also: http://www.fcc.gov/leadership/ajit-pai
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KK6GNP
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Posts: 158




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« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2013, 11:56:04 AM »

My random thoughts:  When I was younger, DJing and making music with friends, we used to wish it was more accessible to start up a small, local radio station.  I always thought it would be cool to have a tiny station that just covered 20-30 miles (a town).  I didn't know what I was talking about at the time, but it was fun to consider.  We even hunted around for one of those Drive-In theater transmitters to play with, but couldn't get into one.  yeah, stupid, but we were young and dumb.  That was before internet "radio", satellite radio, etc.

Over the last decade or two, the only time I've listened to AM radio was when driving down the road late at night, searching for something interesting to keep me awake.  Nine times of ten, it was Coast to Coast AM (Art Bell, and those guys).  I can't remember the last time I even powered on a radio receiver in my home. Of course this new hobby changes that for me, but not for the public at large.
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73 ~ Cory (JeepEscape)
KK6GNP
W1JKA
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Posts: 1815




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« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2013, 12:07:54 PM »

  Personally I agree with Mr.Pai's reasoning and think we should keep AM or at least some of it. A few years back in Feb. we had a major ice storm and we were out of power for 13 days, the first day I had to use my old non powered crystal "rocket" radio (from the 60's) for updated storm news until I scrounged up new batteries for my am/fm portable radio. For some reason the local am/fm radio stations had switched to AM only. I ended up lending my rocket radio to my neighbor since  the power crank handle to his so called survival radio finally broke. Some technologies that are simple, useful and work should be left alone.
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KK6GNP
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Posts: 158




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« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2013, 12:18:50 PM »

 Personally I agree with Mr.Pai's reasoning and think we should keep AM or at least some of it. A few years back in Feb. we had a major ice storm and we were out of power for 13 days, the first day I had to use my old non powered crystal "rocket" radio (from the 60's) for updated storm news until I scrounged up new batteries for my am/fm portable radio. For some reason the local am/fm radio stations had switched to AM only. I ended up lending my rocket radio to my neighbor since  the power crank handle to his so called survival radio finally broke. Some technologies that are simple, useful and work should be left alone.

I agree with this too.  I keep a few weeks worth of disaster preps here due to living in a major earthquake zone, and one of those items is a hand-crank portable radio.  I think the bigger question is, who or what is going to fund these radio stations in the future, especially on AM?  Who's going to be broadcasting on AM in another ten years?  I can see EmComms using it, but will it be commercially viable? 
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73 ~ Cory (JeepEscape)
KK6GNP
AF6WL
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Posts: 146




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« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2013, 12:43:53 PM »

Is the United States the ONLY nation without it's own national ( public / government ) broadcast station ?

I really like the British/European system where multiple national LW, MW, FM and digital DAB chains coexist with both local and national commercial radio.

I guess commercial lobbying and the public's "I don't use it - I won't pay for someone else'" attitude will prevail in the future - and MW broadcasting will die in the US.
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G3RZP
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Posts: 4844




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« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2013, 01:16:50 PM »

AF6WL

just remember that here they want to stop  both AM and FM. Totally crazy, since replacing even 1/3rd of the 150 million FM radios in the UK will cost a fortune in foreign exchange to the Far East because we no longer have a domestic broadcast radio industry in the UK. As usual, the  dimsh*t politicians have screwed things up again.

I like the idea of a French revolution guillotine for them - we just the volunteer women to do the knitting!

It appears that there are few cases where a good politician is not a dead politician...
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N3HFS
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Posts: 212




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« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2013, 02:57:17 PM »

Both ends of the AM dial are used in this region by low-power traffic advisory radio stations.

Can't say that I have a problem with that.  Grin
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K5TED
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Posts: 780




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« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2013, 05:03:32 PM »

"Who's going to be broadcasting on AM in another ten years?  I can see EmComms using it, but will it be commercially viable?"

Thanks for making me spit tea all over my monitor..

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K8AXW
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Posts: 3963




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« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2013, 07:24:24 AM »

WWwwaaaayyyyyy back when I was a kid I used to listen to WCKY in Cincinnati, Ohio.  They played the country music I loved.  And I must emphasize the word "love" because that was the only thing that kept me listening to WCKY because for every piece of music they played there was what seemed like 10 minutes of commercials!

I grew up with our local AM station and in the beginning it was fantastic.  They even had live shows on the air, almost every day.  The jocks were all people with their own personalities.  In other words, there was a human interaction with the station.

What we have now are stations that are owned and operated by conglomerates with no interaction with the people they serve, except to the businesses they hassle for air time.  Everything is canned.

And it has come full circle to WCKY, one song and 10 minutes of commercials.  Even the FM stations that used to be mostly easy listening music with few commercials are now made over AM broadcasts with one song and 10 minutes of commercials. 

Needless to say, I've stopped listening to both AM and FM years ago. To me the AM and FM broadcast bands are a wasteland along with the international MW bands.

Like CB, they've killed themselves. 
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KD0REQ
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Posts: 1006




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« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2013, 08:24:06 AM »

commercial radio in general started the slide into the ocean when the talk format changed from foot-in-the-mouth listeners bouncing the needle to hoof-and-mouth-disease spewers using the bird-burners to shovel spurious political theories.  first both sides, then the multinational guys with the money put their cloven hooves down so only that which enriches them gets spoken.

at which point, I was pretty much into the CD mixes and then iPodding for my entertainment.

commercial radio is a valuable national asset, and to have the (donkeys) set on top of it really bugs me.  6 heart attacks on, I can't stand the aggravation.  makes me weak, angry, and squirrelly so I can't climb on the roof and maintain antenna masts.

now the 60s and 70s, we had a well-listened audience that could be immediately reached in case of community need.  I had access to the studios in the day, and had cassette mixes from the main air studio I made from jacking into the headphone amp after the market leader went simulcast with the FM in the evening.

everybody still has access to an AM radio somewhere.  For that reason alone, it should be a national priority to maintain a reason to dust it off once every few years.  bad weather comes, I always dial up WCCO, even with excellent radar apps on my smartphone.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2013, 08:28:36 AM by KD0REQ » Logged
SWMAN
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Posts: 586




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« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2013, 08:44:46 AM »

 When driving to work every morning all I ever listen to is KRLD 1080 AM. They are a 24/7 news radio station. That is the only way that I get my local and internatioinal news as I dont watch much news on TV. I hope that AM lives on forever.
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KR4BD
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Posts: 236




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« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2013, 11:52:49 AM »


I think the demise of commercial radio began to accelerate when the FCC opened up the spectrum to thousands of new stations begining about 1970.  If you are over 60, like me, you will remember when there were true "clear channel" AM stations on about 2 dozen frequencies.  These stations could be heard nationwide at night as they were THE ONLY stations allowed to operate during night hours on their specific frequencies (KFI, WBZ, WLS, WCAU, etc.).  As a teenager, living in Southern California during the early 1960's, I listened to WLS-890 out of Chicago most every night.  During the 1970's, the FCC decided to do away with these clear channels and proceeded to populate the clear-channel frequencies with dozens of new stations.  Then, many lower powered AM stations were allowed to raise power or begin night-time service resulting in mass interference on the AM dial.  Then, new stations were squeezed in to any "open" bit of spectrum imaginable.  In the 1970's, the FM band began to take off and even today, we are seeing all sorts of new signals (translaters, repeaters, low power stations, etc.) coming on the air making reception more difficult.  As late as 1986, I regularly listened to FM signals from Cincinnati from 65-70 miles away...until the FCC allowed new, additional stations to begin operating near me on the very SAME frequencies of these Cincinnati stations.  This effectively wiped out these 65 mile distant stations I used to listen to (WUBE-105.1 in Cincinnati was overtaken by WRNZ nearby also on 105.1).  The conglomerates bought up all these new stations and have fired all the staffs making nearly everything automated and non-local.  I used to work in radio-TV (late 60's and early 70's) when all stations had a news staff, sports staff, live DJ's, etc.  Now, most programming comes by satellite or voice tracking.  Career opportunties in broadcasting are a joke.  Fortunately, I was wise enough to get into another field when I was still in my 20's.  Here in Lexington, KY, Clear Channel owns about a half dozen stations and has NO LIVE, LOCAL news staff.  Their news director was canned a few years ago....  All their news comes from local agreements with the local TV stations or WHAS out of Louisville....70 miles away AND it is almost ALL canned and out-of-date when aired....

Bottom Line:  The way radio exists now....We have TOO MANY STATIONS and not enough ad dollars to support them all... 

Tom, KR4BD
Lexington, KY
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G3RZP
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Posts: 4844




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« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2013, 12:01:30 PM »

Tom,

A similar situation here. " Digital Radio gives greater choice" they say, but don't seem to realise that there is a finite total available market: the more you fragment it, the fewer the audience per station and therefor the amount of cash available for programming (which is finite)  means that they need cheap and nasty programmes.

Politicians and marketing  people have a lot to answer for......

73

Peter G3RZP
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KK6GNP
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Posts: 158




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« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2013, 01:08:55 PM »

"Who's going to be broadcasting on AM in another ten years?  I can see EmComms using it, but will it be commercially viable?"

Thanks for making me spit tea all over my monitor..


After you clean your monitor Grin  why don't you explain what was funny about what I said so I can learn something new?  Why wouldn't a city, county or region use some of the empty commercial AM airspace to broadcast information to the general public during an emergency? I'm brand new, and learning from scratch about radio, but it makes sense to me.  If we had a major earthquake here, I would turn on the radio and scan for broadcasts on AM and FM.  What do you see happening to the commercial AM space in a decade?
« Last Edit: September 10, 2013, 01:27:54 PM by JEEPESCAPE » Logged

73 ~ Cory (JeepEscape)
KK6GNP
K5TED
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Posts: 780




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« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2013, 03:22:49 PM »

The thought of wackers taking over the AM broadcast band had me rolling..

Anyway, reports of the demise of AM are somewhat exaggerated. The medium is changing, but as long as the licenses are available there will be those who find a way to make it a business.

Here's what the AM dial looks like where I live:


    KTSA   550 AM   6.6 mi.    San Antonio, TX    News/Talk 
    XEMU   580 AM   131.5 mi.    Piedras Negras, Mexico    Regional Mexican 
    KLBJ   590 AM   75.8 mi.    Austin, TX    News/Talk 
    KSLR   630 AM   10.6 mi.    San Antonio, TX    Religious 
    KKYX   680 AM   19.5 mi.    San Antonio, TX    Country 
    KSEV   700 AM   182.1 mi.    Tomball, TX    Talk 
    KSAH   720 AM   20.9 mi.    Universal City, TX    Regional Mexican 
    KTRH   740 AM   217.0 mi.    Houston, TX    News/Talk 
    KTKR   760 AM   12.2 mi.    San Antonio, TX    Sports 
    KYTY   810 AM   9.5 mi.    Somerset, TX    Christian Contemporary 
    KONO   860 AM   5.7 mi.    San Antonio, TX    Classic Hits 
    KNAF   910 AM   61.8 mi.    Fredericksburg, TX    Country 
    KLUP   930 AM   7.9 mi.    Terrell Hills, TX    News/Talk 
    KIXL   970 AM   80.2 mi.    Del Valle, TX    Religious 
    KAML   990 AM   56.4 mi.    Kenedy-Karnes City, TX    Country 
    KBIB   1000 AM   22.5 mi.    Marion, TX  Hispanic Community College  Spanish 
    KCTA   1030 AM   129.4 mi.    Corpus Christi, TX    Religious 
    KDRY   1100 AM   11.0 mi.    Alamo Heights, TX    Religious 
    KTMR   1130 AM   33.5 mi.    Converse, TX    Business News 
    KRDY   1160 AM   12.0 mi.    San Antonio, TX    Children's 
    WOAI   1200 AM   23.3 mi.    San Antonio, TX    News/Talk 
    KZDC   1250 AM   11.8 mi.    San Antonio, TX    Sports 
    KMFR   1280 AM   53.1 mi.    Pearsall, TX    Unknown Format 
    KAHL   1310 AM   10.5 mi.    San Antonio, TX    Nostalgia 
    KCOR   1350 AM   8.1 mi.    San Antonio, TX    Spanish 
    KWMF   1380 AM   31.2 mi.    Pleasanton, TX    Spanish 
    KGNB   1420 AM   25.0 mi.    New Braunfels, TX    News/Talk 
    KCWM   1460 AM   37.5 mi.    Hondo, TX    Country 
    KCHL   1480 AM   6.5 mi.    San Antonio, TX    Gospel Music 
    KBRN   1500 AM   28.1 mi.    Boerne, TX    Spanish 
    KQQB   1520 AM   42.8 mi.    Stockdale, TX    Variety 
    KEDA   1540 AM   11.6 mi.    San Antonio, TX    Tejano 
    KWED   1580 AM   32.9 mi.    Seguin, TX    Country 


Pretty full, eh? Not all Rush Limbaugh either.

Small rural market radio is still making it. Metro talk is still making it. It will morph with the audience, as it always has. As long as there is high school football, basketball, county fairs and rodeos, small market AM radio will have a niche. Out in the country, there's not so much of a problem with the noise.

This will help give you an idea of just how much AM radio still remains. It's unlikely to disappear in a decade.

http://www.radio-locator.com

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_AM_radio_stations_in_the_United_States_by_call_sign_(initial_letters_KA%E2%80%93KF)







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