950 in Denver moved to 1430

Mister B

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I am going to miss KRWZ 950 in Denver. They have a great variety of oldies and although only 5,000 watts, I could usually pick them up here in rural West Texas in the morning. 950 seemed to just be in a rather uncrowded section of the dial. They have moved to KEZW 1430 and although they claim to be 5,000 watts at night they must be directional as there is no sign of them here.
In fact, since I was a kid I have always noticed that from about 1300 to 1500 there is nothing at night except the noise of many low powered local stations. Is this designed by law? There is also very little below about 660 but I am thinking the longer wavelengths just do not travel as well at night.
My friends used to complain when the one local radio station went off at sunset. They were amazed that I could always find distant stations and I would even set the buttons on their car radio.
 

Iceberg

The No Pain Train
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Nov 17, 2003
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None Your Business
yeah their antenna is directional at night (per radio-locator)

In fact, since I was a kid I have always noticed that from about 1300 to 1500 there is nothing at night except the noise of many low powered local stations
I've always heard that is the "radio graveyard" at night. Lots of stations go minuscule power at night in that band. The one I listen to (KCHK 1350) is 500 watts daytime and 70 watts at night. I'm less than 15 miles from their tower and have a bugger getting it at night.

[quoye]There is also very little below about 660 but I am thinking the longer wavelengths just do not travel as well at night.[/quote]
the lower the frequency the BETTER it travels. As example I get 560 Chicago here in Minneapolis at night (they are 5K watts)
 

Mister B

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There simply must not be much of interest in my area at night, low on the AM dial. I have always noticed that the low end of the dial does very well in the day. KGRT 570 used to cover most of Southern New Mexico in the day with 5000 watts, but that was the local station I mentioned above that went off at sundown. Yes, these stations that go down to ridiculously low wattage at night are almost useless and just clutter up the band.
 

radio

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OK, lots of information to put here.....make a pizza, relax, and enjoy...I'm about to bore you and get on my soapbox.

It really isn't a matter of interest in the band...NEW AM's just arent happening. What's there is there. When a station files to move or to build, they hire an engineering firm, which looks for the best combination of coverage, non-interference, and build-cost. Lower dial and middle dial positions are very desirable. BUT...remember, radio is a business! If the coverage won't garner enough money to support the signal, nobody is going to build it. The move to 1430 to me has obviously got something "behind the scenes" happening like a sale of the stand-alone 950 to another entity to generate cash, or the deployment of programming they feel better suits the physically larger 950 audience in the future. Maybe even an upgrade to one of the channels. One doesn't just "change" for the sake of changing. I've not followed the trades to know what this particular company has planned.

1430 isn't really "graveyard" as it is really not a graveyard channel. Graveyards frequencies were originally licensed for short range daytime only,mainly in small towns. Some received blanket day/night full power back a few decades ago, but I believe it was only on "1450". Daytime power levels can be much higher on a 1430 than on graveyard frequencies, non directional OR directional. Ours, for instance is 4.7kw day, and 330 watt night, but the night is aimed away from my town to protect other stations. Originally my DAYTIME was licensed to point north, but we researched and filed to go non-directional daytime and gained a much bigger day audience. It's possible that the station to which you refer may have some future upgrading plans. Hard telling. It's a cascade effect, one station files and changes parameters, and opens or closes doors to another on the same or nearby frequencies.

Now, to further complicate the mix... Anything that is regulated to below 250 watts at night is not a night "license" but rather an "authorization". There is a difference. A license means it cannot move. It broadcasts from the same location day and night, but above 250 watts. An "authorization" means just the reverse...if I wanted-to, I could file to reduce my license to an authorization at very low power, and plant my NIGHT ONLY antenna in YOUR town on 1430 after dark and abandon my current night coverage. With an authorization, an operator with poor night coverage originating from the rim of a large town could put their stick right in the middle of that large city's downtown, and cover a huge city on low wattage almost as well as the "big boys." Yes, it takes much engineering and many dollars, but it has been done.

With regard to "clutter up the band:" Please keep in mind, that what you are hearing in that "dead zone" is not "clutter" to some local community. DXing of signals is a fun electronic "sport" but don't condemn the services provided by a low powered local station....many times the ONLY signal in the market. OUR 1430 reduces power to protect stations over 200 miles away which is nuts by today's standards, but we still serve IONIA. And, when there are local weather emergencies, we hit the HIGH power button for tornadoes, strong thunderstorms, widespread power outages, and the like. We're allowed to do this if we log the emergency, (and technically remove all commercials. if time permits.) Another 1430 in Durand, Wisconsin reduces power from around 2kw day to protect larger stations at night on 1430 to their South as well, but to their local community, they are the ONLY signal broadcasting IN their county talking ABOUT their county. Please don't judge these competing signals you hear as "almost useless" because in reality, they're not there to serve YOU, but rather to serve a small town or county where their signal may be the only one..... or at least the only one acting in the interest of LOCALISM.

With the new AM revitalization orders beginning to go into effect with the FCC, some changes are coming in the protection of other stations which may help in the daytime coverage of many licensees. Night rules are still not working in the interest of the "small" broadcaster, but we're working and lobbying to get that changed, if nothing else, on a case-by-case basis.

Things have changed since AM was the only band. It's still called "standard broadcast." Every time a person turns on a CFL, Computer, or plugs in a wall wart which came from China, AM suffers. Got a smart meter on your house for electricity? It makes AM noise. Got an AT&T modem for your DSL? It can block out AM in a whole house. AM is a tough gig, and those doing it deserve some degree of respect for working hard to continue to provide a service instead of just saying, to HELL with it, and shutting down what in some cases is the only locally originated signal for a town or a county. The noise level on our band is higher than ever, and WE brought it on ourselves as a country by buying cheap crap fro China, by not enforcing interference-generating equipment issues, not employing standards of quality in receivers, and by not having a government that can talk from one entity to another! The people wanting energy conservation want you to buy CFL's, yet the FCC KNOWS they produce noise! The FCC is closing bureaus in the United States while offending noisemakers are at an all time high. Local power companies have transformers and insulators that malfunction and interfere with AM, but it takes radio OPERATORS who care about their stations to find these locations, contact the power company and get them to fix it. Usually they do, if they don't, then we call in the FCC.

I won't bore you with more, but...AM is a tough gig, but still very viable when LOCAL programming gets the interest of the LOCAL listener, and when an operator of the AM cares about their quality of sound. Sadly, decisions are more often made economically, not in the "public interest" (like moving and selling) for the pocket, not the population. If I were you, I'd be watching the FCC public documents regarding the station. There's a 50/50 chance something good may be coming for them with their move (anything changing would be filed as a construction permit and publicly readable) or....it could just be a change for the almighty wallet.
 

Brian1430

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Oct 26, 2015
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Durand, Wisconsin
First thank you to WION for the kind words about our station in Durand, WI. (us 1430 "sisters" need to stay together!)
Well I guess as an owner of one of those "useless" radio stations I guess I need to respond. Sorry I "ruin" your hobby, but frankly I could care less about DXing. I have never been able to pay any of my bills because I sent out so many QSL cards in a month. I have my station on the air to provide a service to my community and I try to do that the best I can. I have taken a station that was dark for five years and in the course of three I have made it viable. How..it was pretty simple, I care about our community and they care about the station. I have people that have not listened to AM in years until the station came back on the air. We have many high school kids that listen to us because we do many high school events and they still think its "cool to be on the radio".

Meanwhile those big 50kw "useful" stations continue with the same right wing talk, or espn sports or my favorite, Purity Products! I guess they do what they have to do, but frankly I find it one of the biggest reasons the AM band struggles.

I have heard these proposals before about dumping all the class B, C and D stations and only have 50kw day night stations. One thing to remember, us "usless" guys also pay regulatory fees and if we are all eliminated with exception of the "useful" stations, if you think the FCC is going to take a big budget cut, well that wont happen. So expect the big boys to cry when they have a new big bill to pay. Also when the band has nothing but talk, sports and religious on please dont complain how there is "nothing on" . Its stations like mine, WION and hundreds of others that try and do something different and while we may not be "useful" in your eyes, just come talk to our communities, they will tell you we are very much needed.
 

Mister B

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This is not boring at all and I appreciate the view from a business perspective as apposed to my hobbyist view. My use of the term "useless" was in reference to the very low nighttime wattage stations that I have experienced locally. When I lived in Las Cruces, NM and KGRT (570) first began staying on at night, at I believe around 80 watts it was very difficult to receive less than 10 miles from the tower. Here in El Paso County I struggle to get KHRO (1150) at about 20 miles and 380 watts.
When I go through the AM dial at night, I am looking for anything other than talk, sports and religion. Of course where I live about 80% of the stations received are Spanish. I even will stop and check those out if they are something a bit more interesting than traditional Ranchero music. I wish either one of your Michigan/Wisconsin 1430s were available here. I have tried the internet stream but somehow that is not much fun. If I have to start the computer and go through the steps to hear radio stations I may as well listen to Los Angeles or London for that matter.
It is a pleasure to discuss this with professionals in the business. When I start to talk about things like this, my friends tend to gaze out the window.
 
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mikekohl

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Ramblings..

The original graveyard frequencies for U.S. AM were at 1230, 1240, 1340, 1400, 1450 and 1490 KHz. They were intended for 24 hour operation of local stations, with a typical daytime range of less than 40 miles. Daytime power was 1000 watts max and most were given 250 watts at night. Most stations have been able to move up to fulltime at 1000 watts. Nighttime coverage is often limited to under 15-20 miles. This situation makes these channels a target for rare skip reception, because while you may have a local station that is on the air 24/7, almost everyone goes down for maintenance once in a while, and then it gets interesting to see what can show up from anywhere during the few hours that the local station is off the air.

Many previous daytime only licensees were given authority to run 24 hours, but at nighttime powers typically between 5 and less than 50 watts...barely enough to provide solid coverage of their city of license.

This last category has been quick to buy up FM translator licenses during the last several years whenever it has been allowed, to provide clear stereo FM coverage often extending out 30-35 miles 24/7, for an often dying AM operation that could not be heard through the interference. Hundreds of smalltown operations have gotten a chance to survive with typical 250 watt FM translators, and it seems to be working well in much of smalltown America. Then there is the internet, but there is nothing like a clear local FM station beaming familiar programming that previously often sounded like a noisy tin can on AM.

Take a look at the number of Canadian AM stations that have left the air in the past 30 years, in exchange for an often medium or full power FM allocation. Similar situation that helped their survival by transferring fully to the FM band, but the lack of many clear channel and regional AM signals from Canada has opened up the band in much of the U.S. for nighttime DXing.
 

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