Bring back AM stereo CQUAM

Discussion in 'Local Radio Discussion' started by ikki, Jun 3, 2016.

  1. ikki

    ikki Topic Starter SatelliteGuys Pro
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    The title says it all.
     
  2. primestar31

    primestar31 SatelliteGuys Master

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    You trolling, dude? If not, you should state your case, and why that would be a good thing.
     
  3. ikki

    ikki Topic Starter SatelliteGuys Pro
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    It works? It is cheap(er) to implement for the station when compared to IBOC. It sounds good>?
     
  4. harshness

    harshness SatelliteGuys Master

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    As high volume in both multiplexers and receivers is critical to being truly inexpensive and widely adopted (worth the investment), this doesn't seem to me to be a reasonable assertion. Since C-QAM was finally mandated by the FCC in 1993, it doesn't matter how it compares to the other standards.
    Don't the alternatives typically sound better?
     
  5. ikki

    ikki Topic Starter SatelliteGuys Pro
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    Describe the alternatives

    AM mono? IBOC? DRM? (DRM isn't permitted by the FCC) or for that matter why don't they let the stations modulate FM on the 530 to 1710 band.
     
  6. harshness

    harshness SatelliteGuys Master

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    FM stereo, Internet streaming, satellite radio, FLAC. The neat part is these technologies are already fully implemented and widely available.

    The AM radio band isn't particularly magical, widely supported with lots of receiver options nor wildly popular.
     
  7. radio

    radio "On the Air" in MI
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    Okay, Judge Carlyle stepping in here. As owner/operator of an AM STATION, and one in STEREO, I am uniquely qualified for this one.
    AM is doing FINE when not shoved aside by large corporate interests. It's alive and well in many towns, making many people a living. It's the topic of a huge plan at the FCC called "AM revitalization, docket number 13-249 which you should all be reading and digesting, and asking question-of if you want to go wild on a topic like this.....and AM ain't going nowhere.

    Now, to the technical: YES, cquam is available. Many transmitters have it. There's a major player in the AM antenna design field who will be bringing to market wideband stereo receivers within a year or less if their plan goes well, and YES, it sounds better. You get an (averaged) 10khz bandwidth on any AM station properly widened to it's NRSC allowance for occupation of the band. Add stereo, and you're TWICE the analog product leftover when AM IBOC is running, and on IBOC stations, the compression of the remaining AM and many receivers' inability to bounce between analog and HYBRID DIGITAL (it is not "HD" as in television, by the way, it's HYBRID DIGITAL) causes issues. So yes, continue cheering for AM, and for Cquam, it's always an option, and probably on it's way back...slowly but surely. Most corporate AMs have pulled the plug on HD-AM.

    PROGRAMMING drives all audio media. Make the content good, people follow: AM, FM, podcasting, streaming, whatever.

    I get damn sick of the insults to AM from those who are not working in it. People still buy CD's, even albums, and every media that has come out to compete in a different format has heard the naysayers proclaim, "(AM) Radio is dying. It hasn't and it isn't, nor will it be auctioned-off by the FCC for their money making machine, because it's at it's "highest and best use" now!

    Unplug your noisy switching adapters and CFL's that make interference in your home, buy a radio that's NOT from WalMart, (spend a little....you get what you pay for....)..... doesn't say COBY or another cheap-donkey make, and start tuning the band. There's some pretty cool stuff out there. We are indeed, "wildly popular" with people who have local owners and program directors who care.

    Oh, and for GREAT sounding AM, even at night, try the WION live stream. Info is on the thread dedicated to our station on Satguys. We send you REAL AM STEREO 24/7 from a tuner on the desk in my office.

    Over and out.
     
  8. waylew

    waylew SatelliteGuys Pro

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    But you know nowadays,if it requires any more effort than just clicking on it,it's, it's, just too hard.;)
     
  9. ikki

    ikki Topic Starter SatelliteGuys Pro
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    Well put.
     
  10. Mister B

    Mister B SatelliteGuys Pro
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    I am so glad my "Oldies" station, KHRO is on AM. It is easy to get in the kitchen and car. I bought a C.Crane 2e radio which does a great job at night when they go down to 800 watts at about 30 miles distance from my home. Occasionally, I like to scan the band before sunrise to see what else I can get. I will stop and check out any type of music and hope these advances in stereo capabilities promote more programming beyond talk and sports.
     
  11. harshness

    harshness SatelliteGuys Master

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    Unfortunately for most, they don't have >$100 radios and aren't willing to power down some of their efficient lamps, tech gear and air conditioners to use AM radio. For many, the wireless phone or tablet has replaced their portable radios or "walkmans" and their cars and light trucks no longer come with whip antennas (and the structure to support one no longer exists).

    To be sure, there are a handful of AM stations that have taken the required steps and and great care to produce good sound but they are arguably too few and far between to chase after in their OTA broadcast incarnation.
     
  12. radio

    radio "On the Air" in MI
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    "H",

    Sounds like you describe lazy people, not a lack of simply solving the problem. THAT is something broadcasters can't fix.
    But, when we EDUCATE listeners, they follow us through thick and thin.

    BTW, any good secondhand radio still in decent shape from a garage sale or thrift shop will outperform modern junk, and is much less cost than you quote. I stock 'em for clients, and have given 'em out for years.

    I think most people here would take issue with your thinking that the structure of a vehicle no longer "supports" an antenna, yet we safely ride in them and they go through rollover and crash testing. There isn't a vehicle on the road right now that couldn't have a standard whip. It's the perceived vanity of the buyer as seen by the manufacturer that thinks an antenna is ugly. The small shark fin is their compromise. It's not a structural issue, its a "beauty instead of function" thing, typical of the American consumer these days. It's part of the reason big dish satellite was always under fire....for it's LOOKS in the yard. (an analogy stretching it a bit, but you get the idea)

    And on the topic of the efficient lamps being powered down, blame the damn government for that mess! We have the FCC wanting AM revitalization while the EPA wants to honor the tree huggers who think incandescent lamps are killing the earth! It's not unwillingness to power down the efficient lamps, it's the OPTION of being able to buy "RF quiet" devices and lamps being taken away from us by our own government! It's evident the branches of government that oversee two different areas can't work together on a common goal. When you can't legally BUY a product anymore, you're forced into the alternative and that's exactly what has happened, along with LACK of regulation on devices like cellphone chargers that cause the issue. A penny capacitor added to a Samsung smartphone charger will quiet it down to acceptable levels, but Samsung is too cheap to add it! Same for many other makers of similar products like the power supply for many AT&T modems. Yes, there's an interference issue. It is solvable with common sense and consumer education in how to NOT buy products that are harmful to the enjoyment of radio.

    Bottom line: Broadcasters have to be smarter than government, and educate listeners to be activists for the cause through careful buying. Those who care about broadcasting will do so. Listeners will and DO learn, and follow broadcasters' leads if WE do our job educating on HOW to best enjoy the medium. No different than trying to find the best hardware for the most reliable signal on your 3g/4g/home internet wifi signal.

    "Mr. B"...
    Nice post! Glad you enjoy AM. And, actually, there aren't new "advances" in AM stereo, it's just a matter of stations going BACK to using it with pre-existing equipment in many cases, and promoting it! Analog AM stereo provides a better sound even on Mono radios for any number of reasons. If you have a station near you in receivable distance, look for a basic TM-152 radio on Ebay from Radio Shack, it's a decent "starter" AM stereo tuner, and you may be a bit surprised at the sound. I've occasionally had to switch to using one of these for our AM stereo stream source, and while it's not "top of the line" it's quite nice! I hope you have a stereo station near you. It'll be worth the tuning if there is one! There is, by the way, in our broadcasting world, a slow but steady return to music on AM. Everything in this world has it's cycles, and broadcasting is no exception. (pun on "cycles" included.)
     
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  13. Mister B

    Mister B SatelliteGuys Pro
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    Does anyone know of an internet list of AM stereo stations? Neither radiostationworld.com nor radiolocator.com include that information. Many years ago 1110 XEWR claimed to be AM stereo when they were a rock station, but now it is Spanish religion. The only time I ever got to experiment with an AM stereo radio was in my Aunt's Oldsmobile back in the 1990's.
    She lived in Ontario, California and there were several great sounding stations.
     
  14. radio

    radio "On the Air" in MI
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    meduci.com has attempted to keep the list, but...the problem is, stations go there for "free" promotion, then don't STAY in AM stereo. I can guarantee you that WE are, feeding real AM STEREO from a Carver tuner in my office, but some stations listed feed from their control boards in straight stereo like you'd hear from a home stereo, not the actual air signal. WOAP, for instance, their (internet) feed is definitely NOT handled by AM stereo processors, it's levels are all over the place! AM stereo adds a unique "sound" to the music and is quite different from a raw feed, and requires careful setting of processors to maintain a balance of excellent quality to consistent volume (modulation.) Tune in anytime to WION! We welcome new ears! This morning Germany, Norway, and many Michigan towns are tuned-in via the web.
     
  15. Tampa8

    Tampa8 I'll Stand Up and Say So
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    I agree with the OP to the extent that an early adopter of Stereo AM was a small local Wili AM in Ct. I bought an inexpensive stereo AM portable radio way back then and it really sounded great, better than FM to my ears. I still like the sound of old AM only car radios (I have one hooked to a battery) and how well they can pull in stations with a good AM antenna!

    I remain an AM radio enthusiast, for a long time I was in the NRC to get news about the AM world, did much successful DXing, and played with several types of antennas and amplifiers from beverage to inductive amplified ferrite rod. I have a few older portable AM radios including my favorite a small Channel Master that is my favorite for looks and for performance. I have never been in the radio industry.
    That said it is very hard to get anything but strong AM stations at home anymore. Intrusive noise from too many things often out of my control are too strong. If I still lived in the Country with no houses close by it would be possible. I can decide not to use electronics that interfere or turn them off but they are just too strong from neighbors and even the power lines/street lights. I therefore reluctantly now use Alexa and the internet to listen to AM radio stations.

    Luckily car radios today do a good job of keeping AM clean of car electronic noise without reducing too much of their sensitivity. There was a time they put the antenna in the back window (vertical wires) and reduced how sensitive the receiver was. I ended up having a rod antenna installed years ago in one. But in fact it's close to the best it has been in a long time now. During the day one of the tests I do to how good the car radio/antenna is, can I get 1210 WPHT from Philly when I am in Ct near the Mass line. (Because there is little to no adjacent bleed over to 1210 where I am in Ct) Both my cars can at least get enough signal to hear what they are saying. I should be able to get several of the NYC AM stations almost like they were locals and I can with some cars including both mine. This is daytime, not skip.
    There are areas where electrical interference is bad, but surprisingly even in Florida where I also live with business after business lined on all the main roads in a heavily populated area I still can get very decent AM reception in the car. 850 WPTB north of Savannah GA can almost always be heard where I am just north of Tampa or 870 WWL from New Orleans. And there are many active AM stations that I get from Orlando and other towns besides the Tampa area.
     
  16. radio

    radio "On the Air" in MI
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    Good post! At least you're making an effort to FIND the AM's that stream. Streaming of AM is a GREAT reason for a station to go C-Quam.
    Be sure and let the stations you use Alexa-for that you appreciate their streaming. Streaming of terrestrial and OTHER services is starting to be shut down, service by service, thanks to gool ol' fashioned GREED by the music industry, and the amount of special engineering and paperwork/reporting required to keep it up and going! It's important the terrestrial stations that you enjoy be TOLD you appreciate them, moreover, if you're near their markets, tell their SPONSORS.
    Good post. Thanks for chiming in.
     
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  17. harshness

    harshness SatelliteGuys Master

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    So that's what you recommend giving the granddaughter for her birthday? Very few of them do stereo.
    My daily driver is 65% aluminum panels and the metal is so thin that it would surely pucker when trying to support even a simple fixed whip. Other cars have large non-metallic panels that would support neither a magnetic nor a fender mount without causing the bodywork (and/or coatings) to fatigue and crack. The "cage" is strong, but the skin is awfully thin.

    Education isn't easy and it isn't cheap. Educating government is even harder and more expensive and they've proven themselves to be highly resistant to reason, logic and nostalgia when someone is waving money under their noses.

    As I said earlier, I'd be sad if there weren't other established ways that don't involve so much effort and dedication.
     
  18. radio

    radio "On the Air" in MI
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    You have a tendency to read things IN to people's writing and post generalities without supporting data or experience.

    As one IN the field, making a LIVING on AM, and in the loop of the current trends, FCC efforts and educating listeners daily, I stand my ground on all statements.

    And yes, if you want your granddaughter to enjoy RADIO get her an older nicely kept radio and EDUCATE her as to why. (or visit the Ccrane site or similar for a good quality one) If you want her to own junk, go ahead, but don't complain about AM radio and noise. If they're good enough for clients to use and display in ofices,, maybe it's time YOU educate your granddaughter if it's a radio she wants. There's PLENTY of FM stereo/wideband AM mono radios that are GREAT TUNERS and good looking out there. HELL, I'll sell you one!
     
    #18 radio, Jun 7, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2016
  19. harshness

    harshness SatelliteGuys Master

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    You seem compelled to summarize and characterize what I've said in a somewhat dismissive way. It isn't as if you have offered lots of hard numbers, web links and widely recognized industry research data to back up your claims.

    My claims are mostly observations and are presented as such. I have visited Jay Allen's website to survey what is worth having as well as Amazon, Fry's and Walmart to see what consumers can readily get their hands on (both radios and antennas). After all, if the equipment is sufficiently hard to get and is relatively expensive, it stands to reason that it can't be all that mainstream. By the same token, if an FM tuner is enabled in a broad cross-section of smart phones, it must be for a reason.
     
  20. radio

    radio "On the Air" in MI
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    Perhaps! I like to see facts presented in a way that can be supported. My facts come from working 28 years, never unemployed in the broadcasting field, 12 years owning at one station 7 at another, and decades as morning announcer, plus working engineering because I'm forced-to being a small market owner. I'm uniquely qualified to speak on HD, AM, FM, and what they SHOULD sound like, and how they should perform, and especially on performance of tuners today vs. yesteryear.

    FM TUNERS in cellphones are a joke. Piss poor antenna in the headphone, and poor reception received makes broadcasters look like the culprit. It was a scheme for Nextel/Sprint to get FREE advertising from radio stations via networks. THEY pushed it. The NAB pushed it. WE refused it. The technology is just not good for anyone. If you'e not NEAR a tower, you'll get horrible reception....
     

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