Ashamed to be on AM

Mister B

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In pursuit of my lifelong hobby of night time AM reception, especially the rare English language music stations, I have noticed that what few exist identify themselves as an FM station. I enjoy KCKK 1510 from the Denver area but they call themselves FM 93.7. I sent an e-mail to their general manager, Janice, stressing that surely they have listeners in the wider Colorado area who use the 25K watt AM signal rater than 250 watt FM translator. She did promptly respond and stated that they are aware of AM listeners and it seems that when the broadcast is live they do more often admit to the AM signal.
This morning I discovered another similar situation. I am picking up a 1000 watt signal on 1680 from Monroe, Louisiana. They call themselves LA 105 ( I thought it was from California ) but some research finds it is a simulcast of KLIP-FM. I have not heard them identify as KRJO 1680 yet although I assume they must at the top of the hour.
We should remind these broadcasters that we would not be listening if not for their AM signal.
 

radio

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From a broadcasters's standpoint:

1) We've never dropped the "AM" designation, it is important, but we ADDED our FM (translator) dial position to EDUCATE people who have a mindset exactly OPPOSITE yours.

You may NEVER hear a "legal" ID on an FM translator because it can be done silently with "Frequency shift keying" in which an inaudible signal is transmitted by the actual transmitter! (Crown brand transmitters and others, specifically designed for translators build this in.)

Also, the rules of legally identifying the station are different for a translator! We do it hourly, audibly, by morse code! It's legal.

Most stations, however do it silently, or the minimal amount of times, which is much LESS than hourly for the translator signal vs. a full size AM or FM station.

A truly traditional LEGAL ID contains ONLY the call letters followed by the station's city of license (with the FCC allowing the dial position in-between but nothing else.) It's okay to tag additional cities AFTER the COL however. ID's can also be in a jingle, or a sentence, like, "Enjoy WION, Ionia in AM Stereo, and FM 92-7" That's a legal AM example. The FM Translator ID immediately follows in morse code, which stands for, "W224BZ, IONIA"

Many folks simply will NOT tune to an "AM" (we beat the office pools on that one)....and, for a station to survive, they have to market themselves in the way they feel is best. Don't fault them for pushing their FM, YOU know the AM is the flagship, and as long as the AM originates the programming, that's what matters.

AM is a tough gig. Those, like we, who have made our incomes on it are proud it's alive and well. AM has bigger issues than what you posted here. What are some?

1) Noise floor getting higher with every electronic device bought that is made in China with cheap AC adapters and no filtering
2) Same notation as above with flourescent lights, badly maintained electric lines in cities, and other sources of interference.
3) Complete public misunderstanding of the POTENTIAL of AM caused by years of corporate operators throwing away the potential with bad programming/upkeep of their physical plants.
4) Manufacturers like those who made the new UCONNECT system in the Chrysler-Jeep-RAM vehicles that refuse to make a receiver capable of good sound!

AM is still a GREAT place to be, it's not going anywhere, and please, instead of not liking the way the broadcaster "positions" themselves, COMPLIMENT them if the AM is the source of the programming, and ENCOURAGE them to continue keeping their AM well kept (physically) and well programmed (for you, the listener, not just as a signal to "fill time on."

Cheers!
 

Mister B

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Thanks for the interesting comments from the business perspective. I just sent an upbeat e-mail to the above mentioned KLIP-FM and KRJO-AM complimenting them on their morning show and mentioning the fact that I listen on 1680 AM in the unlikely location of El Paso County Texas.
 

Iceberg

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where I use to live (Duluth, MN) there are 2 examples like that...except one is on FM for both signals

KZIO 104.3 is based in Two Harbors (25 miles up the road). There is a translator on 94.1 in Duluth and they go by "94X". Main reason is Duluth has a TON of intermodulation. So 104.3 works going out of Duluth but once you start coming down the hill into Duluth it goes out.

WEBC 560AM just signed on a translator a couple weeks ago 106.5. They ID as "Sasquatch 106.5" but they do mention 560 all the time. They'll say "listen to us on 106.5 FM, 560AM and on line". When they ID they do ID both stations (560 WEBC and 106.5 W293CT Duluth/Superior)
 

Mister B

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In my e-mail this morning to KLIP/KRJO I also commented that maybe I could visit the northern Louisiana area someday. I realize from an advertising stand point, it is very unlikely that I will be buying a Ford from their local dealership, but any area would like to attract tourists.
In regards to on-air promotion of a companion AM station, it seems the great advantage would be for those listeners who like the programming but are having reception difficulties (especially with low power translators). I would think any less technically informed listener would be glad to know that they could drive anywhere within a much greater range without losing the signal.
 

jegrant

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We just had a 50KW AM in Indianapolis that added an FM translator, actually its second translator. They are spinning off the first translator (which has always been sourced from an HD2 channel, even though it marketed itself as the FM home of the AM station's programming) as a full time ESPN affiliate, and then the new translator will be a true simulcast of the AM station.

https://radioinsight.com/blog/headlines/94919/emmis-launching-second-indianapolis-sports-fm/
 

radio

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I wish the FCC would NEVER have allowed FM translators to act like "real" stations via HD as a source. Crowded up the FM band more, helped big companies to get AROUND ownership limits, and ACT like they have "real" stations when many are just jukeboxes. The original intent (FM) was filling in where geographic limitations like a mountain divided an otherwise standard coverage area. THAT made sense. FM for SOME AM's (yes like ours) makes sense when the signal isn't strong enough at night to reach the city of license. But doing it to divide the pie of listenership even more than it is now makes NO sense.
 
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Iceberg

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There is a FM/AM combo that use to be 2 different formats and a couple years ago they merged them toghether
KCHK AM1350 FM 95.5 and they say it in all their promos (the legal ID's are KCHK 1350 and KCHK-FM 95.5)

The only time they are separate is during Twins games (AM only) and high school sports (usually 2 games are on at same time so they split it up)
The AM station works great during the day where I lived but at night its only 70 watts so the FM works better.
 

Iceberg

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I wish the FCC would NEVER have allowed FM translators to act like "real" stations via HD as a source. Crowded up the FM band more, helped big companies to get AROUND ownership limits, and ACT like they have "real" stations when many are just jukeboxes. .
agreed 100%
They did that in Minneapolis. They own 5 stations and 4 translators. 3 of the 4 are basically "HD" stations on analog and the 4th is a FM simulcast of their 50kw AM talker (although they use the HD2 feed to feed the translator)

The problem is 3 stations (93.3, 96.7, 103.5) now plugged up the distant listening we use to get from where I lived.
 

Iceberg

The No Pain Train
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NO 50kw should be allowed to be the source of an FM translator. Wow!
yup. KTLK 1130 Minneapolis. 50kw day 25kw night
also on 100.3 HD2 so they can feed the 103.5 translator

they obviously do that to penetrate the buildings in downtown Minneapolis
 

harshness

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For AM stations that play music, I'm pretty sure the additional audio fidelity of FM is much more likely to attract.

I suspect this is also why many AM stations push so hard to make it known that they also have an Internet feed. It gives customers hope of higher AQ and certainly broader and more reliable coverage.
 

navychop

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I dunno. I listen to the BBC from my iPhone to my car via BT and I lose it a few times a day. Not the most reliable delivery method.
 

radio

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When AM is properly processed and the transmission system maintained, it sounds almost as good as FM, is smooth, and is NOT in any way unpleasant. Fidelity of AM being bad is an urban legend perpetuated by largely the big corporations and bad owners who treated the AMs as bastard children of the FMs. AM CAN sound better than HD-AM, believe it or not! Try it out at the WION stream!

It is true, a wider audience is available, but it will ONLY be there if the radio station has something unique to offer. MOST nationally fed programs are not allowed on local streaming either due to Announcers' Union issues or by contract to protect other stations. Thus, an AM station's reasons for streaming should be to show off it's quality of sound, to reach those underserved at night, or for quality of (unique) programming. Streaming will NOT bring ears that would not normally listen. The station has to program SOMETHING of quality.
 
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Mister B

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Here is an example of an AM station that seems to have given up on it's FM translator, KRWZ 950 in Denver. I can only get it's 5K signal when it stays dark longer in the mornings and as I recall last year they were heavily promoting a FM counterpart on 103.1. They seem to have given up on the translator and I do not see any mention of it on their website. Digging deeper into their website does reveal that they are broadcasting an HD2 on another FM station. As an oldies station I would think that most of their listeners are not afraid to push the AM button.
 

harshness

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Fidelity of AM being bad is an urban legend perpetuated by largely the big corporations and bad owners who treated the AMs as bastard children of the FMs. AM CAN sound better than HD-AM, believe it or not! Try it out at the WION stream!
Compressed frequency response is not an urban legend; it is an immutable law of physics. AM has a bandwidth of 20MHz and is typically limited to an audio frequency response range of 40-5000Hz.

Comparing the audio quality of the WION stream to that of its AM broadcast is silly.
 

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