[Other Topic] FCC talking about actions to save AM Radio

Iceberg

The No Pain Train
Supporting Founder
Nov 17, 2003
282
39
None Your Business
Of course no one will switch to AM. They just want to carry talk and sports.
There is a cluster that is about 65 miles away from me and 3 of the 4 AM stations the guy owns dont have talk or sports
540 WXYG "The Goat"...Album Rock...and I know Radio will be proud. They broadcast in AM Stereo
660 WBHR Sports (ESPN)
800 WVAL Classic Country (locally done)
1010 WMIN Big Band/Swing

Now while 540 & 1010 do have FM translators (106.5 & 107.3) they only cover the St Cloud "metro" area (which is 4 towns...St Cloud, Sartell, Sauk Rapids, Waite Park) so outside of that area the AM works great.
 

radio

"On the Air" in MI
Pub Member / Supporter
Oct 13, 2007
3,642
856
West Central Michigan
Harsh,

Yes, I included references to FM for those readers who will agree, the cry for a change in the DELIVERY of the radio medium has been raised for both AM and FM,and has been used more frequently as the battle cry for "improving AM." Neither band needs this, because broadcasting's main problems stem from humans, not from megahertz and kilohertz. However...(again) in referring to our facility, we're the perfect example of a regional AM that attracts a distant audience without any of the issues you cite of distant chambers, or distant advertisers. We have nothing to lament, and everything to celebrate in success, as an example to what other AM's can do!

The streaming we do is AM! It's done to prove that AM's quality is better than most of the public perceives. The excellent results of this project which took extra work in software deployment and method of streaming cannot be disputed. It's this combination of programming and AM signal quality which has put my town on the map for radio listeners, and THAT supports the statement I've made that neither "HD" nor "all digital" is needed on our band.

With regard to advertisers, we've had clients on the air from Grand Rapids, Lansing, here in our town, and from every small town around us. Your statement of distant chambers' businesses being upset doesn't hold water....we have several Chambers as clients, in competing towns, miles apart. All chambers want their clients to grow, and none should have the issue you cite: "Advertisers in distant areas aren't going to be too happy if their customers are distracted...from some other market" If a "distant" advertiser is offended by radio ads being effective in THEIR local market, they probably need to examine their own marketing, which would tend to support the argument that the distant advertiser who is on the air recognizes the power of the particular (AM) medium. Competition drives our whole economic system, including having competitors vying for ears and air-time.

It takes a uniquely local medium like local RADIO to remind people to shop locally. That is true. There's NO bad that can come of a good station with a good outreach promoting a business, regardless of location or amount of distant competition.

The whole point of this thread was that there's no need of digital, and I support that statement with proof that a well run AM can appeal to people near and far, with NO need of a change in the medium's broadcast method.

You implied earlier by citing "horse and buggy", that you left the medium behind. I believe this clouds your impression of how signal reach, and quality of signal (combined with good programming) contribute to a station's success. I speak from the unique seat of having my "flagship" station be independent, located between larger markets, embraced by our locals, admired by engineers, and an example of what AM's potential truly can do!

In work both behind the mic and on the street, I see and HEAR from people and businesses near and far. Nobody yet has been upset that we have local ads on the stream or on our 5kw AM because of (distant) competition! They also don't complain that there ARE local spots when they listen via the web. It's part of the "flavor" of the whole station. In fact, we fought to KEEP all our ads on the stream and got written permission to NOT cover them up with "substitution software." I want listeners to get the same "feel" whether on the air or on the web.

Perhaps you can clarify your statements specifically on the downside to the scenario of a "distant" advertiser's signal (or stream) enticing a distant listener to visit the (distant signal's) client which is out of the (distant listener's) market? There doesn't seem to be one! And yes, we've had this occur, too. From VERY far away!
 
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harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
16,470
2,636
Salem, OR
Perhaps you can clarify your statements specifically on the downside to the scenario of a "distant" advertiser's signal (or stream) enticing a distant listener to visit the (distant signal's) client which is out of the (distant listener's) market?
Put yourself in the position of a distant retailer. Your customers hear that someone dozens of miles away is offering what sounds like a whole lot better value for the same product. Do you expect that your customers will dismiss this if it happens on an ongoing basis? Taking out an ad with the distant station isn't going to make your offer sound any more enticing when played along with the competitor who is beating you up. Few other than supply chain managers or economists understand (or care about) the costs that might lead to a pricing differential.

Of course the pricing differential could go both ways and if Dave Smith Motors out of Kellogg, Idaho is offering Cadillacs in your market for $17,000 off, how will your locals react? I use Dave Smith Motors as an example as they advertise on FM and TV stations 500+ miles away because people will drive that far to be part of the excitement and save that kind of money. The even offer free shuttle service from the Coeur d'Alene airport!

My sister hates it when I tell her that I'm paying 30 cents less per gallon of gasoline; never mind that the gas tax structure is entirely different between our respective states (the difference is a little over 11 cents in my favor).
 

radio

"On the Air" in MI
Pub Member / Supporter
Oct 13, 2007
3,642
856
West Central Michigan
Why be upset with radio having range? Nobody is forcing anyone to GO to the advertiser far away. But, if radio does its job well, people WILL...and that's okay too..if local retailers can't compete via advertising promotion, and customer service, and are not investing in their businesses as much as the ones far away, the natural Capitalistic system will, in time show who wins.

ADVERTISING is part of what is needed on Main St. USA, and may the BEST Main Street win! I'm here to make our town the BEST main Street and to pull people from wherever we can, and to make ALL the Main Streets I can serve possible clients so I can be a successful business...one that doesn't need to change mediums...and one that those clients view as a partner in their community and their success..not a cold, digital signal from a digital box...

Tell your sister to get over it.
 
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navychop

Member of the Month - July 2014!
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Lifetime Supporter
Jul 20, 2005
50,494
15,366
Northern VA
There's only so much time. How much can be spent with radio? Does listening peak during commuting hours? When I listen to the BBC? I never listen at home.

Although, after posts like these, I'm tempted to find out what the multitudes of radio stations offer in Northern VA. I'm not impressed with FM, although I do sometimes listen to 103.5 or Public or a jazz station. Not often. Maybe AM offers more. I started scanning, thinking it was all talk, but found many other schticks. Better to read a list than go through so many experimentally.

I guess someone must be listening, since there are so many of them.
 

radio

"On the Air" in MI
Pub Member / Supporter
Oct 13, 2007
3,642
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West Central Michigan
Properly done, radio creates "loyalty" with listeners, who, will listen when they CAN....be it in their cars, lunch hours, in the office, whatever....and when we're not providing immediate information in critical times like severe weather, local emergencies, and various "staples" we're a background soundtrack to the listener, who will perk up their ears when something strikes them as important in our conversation. If we're doing our job correctly, a listener feels like they're "eavesdropping" on a conversation during talk-times.

To generate that loyalty which remains during "casual" listening times, (when listeners can't be "glued" to the speaker) the station has to present a product with a fairly wide appeal while still making it SOUND as if we're talking to ONE listener at a time. The scenario here only works, AGAIN when owners care. To expect listeners to care and come back to a station frequently if the owners dont (care) is not realistic. Takes us right back to that "properly programmed/properly maintained signals" thing!
 
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radio

"On the Air" in MI
Pub Member / Supporter
Oct 13, 2007
3,642
856
West Central Michigan
The sound is dreadful ONLY if your local broadcasters don't care about their "audio chain" (equipment used for broadcasting and its upkeep) AND..if you listen on what we'd call a "modern' radio. Go to a garage sale, or thrift store and buy a working SONY, PANASONIC, MAGNAVOX, RCA, or ANY older large AM/FM receiver....(anything but the wal-mart and other box store CRAP) and listen again. AM can sound nearly as good as FM when properly "treated.' So sorry you have the wrong impression, maybe from no fault of your own, ejb.
 

Blindowl1234

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 16, 2008
2,034
90
SouthWest Ohio
Problem with AM has always been static, electrical interference etc...Even as big as Cincinnati is out side of our two 50Kw stations reception is iffy in an automobile. In all fairness car radios I'm sure aren't what they used to be. There are some good 5KW stations within 20 miles of me but if you're out driving the interference will drive you crazy. I doubt there's much the individual station can do since interference is part of the AM band. A lot of it I'm sure is man made interference. I applaud the owners that still put quality local programming on AM though. Wish there were more of them too, even through the static.
 

radio

"On the Air" in MI
Pub Member / Supporter
Oct 13, 2007
3,642
856
West Central Michigan
Autos have more computer and other noise IN them than ever. Radios have narrowed their AM bandwidth because of manufacturers being cheap, and because consumers don't demand quality anymore. If local stations know of legitimate interference in their area/town (like AC lines leaking and buzzing blocking out a station) they can ask the power company to remedy it. If the power company doesn't, they can ask the FCC to step in.

We've already put our energy company on notice to not use UNFILTERED switching power supplies in the new "smart" meters. THOSE cause buzz on the whole AC line in a house and overhead. Non filtered switching supplies will wipe out radio in an entire home, or apartment/apt. building. AT&T is a big culprit and won't take responsibility for their crappy modem power supplies, either! Just one of MANY possible BIG sources of noise times how many buildings, wires, and service entrances!

Ask Scott, our Satguys host about how he heard ONE "wall wart" in my studio building mess up our streaming receiver!, It was 70 feet away and on a separate circuit! Chinese CRAP we allow in our homes and businesses is amazing...and NOISY.

Thank you for recognizing good owners and their efforts, Blindowl.
 
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DJH73

Member
Sep 1, 2015
14
2
Park Hills, MO
If the FCC would allow the AM stations to widen the bandwidth a little and if receiver manufacturers would aim for 10khz bandwidth in the IF section, you would be surprised how well it sounds. Then if the FCC would actually enforce RFI regs, any digital system couldnt hold a candle to the BCB sound quality and coverage.
 

eurosport

In Dave Grohl We Trust!
Supporting Founder
Mar 31, 2008
6,861
309
North Florida
I have an "Electrobrand" AM/FM stereo receiver connected to a pair of Realistic Nova 6 speakers. The receiver and speakers are of late 70's vintage. Our local AM station in town plays a classic hits format and it sounds really good on that system. I collect old radios and stereo equipment. Radio is absolutely correct: -the new cheap stuff sounds like crap compared to the vintage equipment. So if AM doesn't sound good to you it's probably what you're listening to it on! :)
 
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The Fat Man

Poster of Randomness
Lifetime Supporter
Oct 2, 2010
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Land where we pronounce our "R" as "ah"
There is a cluster that is about 65 miles away from me and 3 of the 4 AM stations the guy owns dont have talk or sports
540 WXYG "The Goat"...Album Rock...and I know Radio will be proud. They broadcast in AM Stereo
660 WBHR Sports (ESPN)
800 WVAL Classic Country (locally done)
1010 WMIN Big Band/Swing

Now while 540 & 1010 do have FM translators (106.5 & 107.3) they only cover the St Cloud "metro" area (which is 4 towns...St Cloud, Sartell, Sauk Rapids, Waite Park) so outside of that area the AM works great.
Quite frankly, Iceberg, I just might be interested in the AM band there. Here in Boston (north of the city) is been religated to same two to three formats. However, so hasn't FM. Album Rock and Big Band are two formats I'd love to have 24/7 here.

That's the issue in Boston, everyone. There are viable formats. But these mindless powerhouse owners (Clear Ch...I mean i(refuse to say it)media, CBS, Greater Media, Entercom, etc) all come up with interesting formats, but cram them on HD2 or HD3 substations where you can stream them from your app for a fee to your cell company. Here we have Jazz, Blues, Metal, Free Form, classic Hip-Hop, and even once a Live Rock only station. But with a regular radio FM is pop, sports talk, or country on 99% of the comercially owned stations; and AM is either Spanish Language or Conservative Talk on 99% of the comercially owned stations. Here's an idea, HOW ABOUT MOVING SOME OF THE FORMATS OF HD2 AND HD3 STATIONS! Put some of those on AM...in stereo.

Once again, this is the mainstream media analyzing every fact without looking at what they are doing to add to the problem. "It's that AM is a dead technology!" No, jackass, it's because the same 3 to 4 companies own most to all the stations are hyper focused in the same two to three formats to even allow something new.

Boston is an East Coast hub for Alternative and Hard Rock/Metal. Yet, there only two modern "Rock" outlets on the FM band, and I use the term loosely, as they both are more focused on rock from the 90s (it's what their cooperate overlords deem to be most popular). One says their Alternative and the other says it's Modern Rock. I say that try are both too watered down. I do enjoy our classic rock station. There's no rock on the AM band, along with no Urban, no Blues, no Jazz. There's pop via Radio Disney. Here's an idea, how about a LMA with the Globe to bring a true Alternative station (RadioBDC, the successor to the true WFNX) back to the airwaves. And don't give me the line about lack of popularity, as it worked in Chicago with the original Q101 being on the AM band.

And here's one last thought. If you are abandoning a format. Let go of the call letters. How many stations do these companies keep the call letters on another station somewhere wise around the country, just so that another company can't try to use the name. I love how we WNEW in DC and WBCN in Charlotte, both not having anything to do with their previous (rightful) places, all because (in this case) CBS wanted to bull**** the listeners into HD Radio crap. There still here on HD-$!#& yourself. Oh thanks, that's all much better. Let these formats die. Let go of the WODS call letters, it's obvious that you don't care about the old format, or you would have kept it in place instead of making the 9,000,000th place to hear modern pop. No, instead there going to own a top 40 and a Hot AC station, tell us they're different, and the mindless mass to accept it.

Radio is right. We're all too brainwashed by the crap these companies throw at us. AM is not dead, or even broken. These jackass owners are what's broken and what's breaking all of terrestrial radio.
 
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