How long will radio last?

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    Dan Packard

    A good column this week by Doc Searls, “How long will radio last“.

    Many AM stations are selling off their tower sites and even reducing transmitter power, as in the case of AM 720 KDWN in Las Vegas (was 50,000 watts night; now just 7,500!).

    Will FM follow the diminishing path of AM stations in the US? Great reading from Doc Searls, as he always has interesting things to say about radio.

    Steve Naganuma

    Dan, great article thanks for sharing. Here is another interesting article.
    “Pop radio in decline, streaming on the rise: How the coronavirus is changing what we listen to”


    Great article. Thanks for sharing. I have friends in Korea that stream everything off cel towers while driving around from job to job. They are government workers with computers. They never listen directly via a station tower. Is the U.S. going in that direction? Even, as a avid DXer of AM, FM, & TV for decades, I stream a lot of what I listen to in the house. that way I can listen to about anything I want. Gone are the days when a person had to listen to local radio and we had 2 stations that ran sports all weekend. Of course now we have a lot of FM’s that play music. If a wifi radio, I can plug in a certain city and check out the whole dial as most stations stream. Local radio is good for local news, sports, and weather, but music-wise most take it off the birds anyway and what station X plays, station Y simulcasts. How many stations run the same talk shows? Local radio is still fun, if you can find it. I know a guy that has a Country station in AZ that is live and it is fun to listen to.

    Andy Brown

    Since the guvment handed so many licenses to big conglomerates owned by investors (both before and after some huge bankruptcies), and as a result of so much money being tied up in the licenses (both the big AMs and a many FMs), I don’t see any major changes happening very soon. It will take an emerging technology that can use the bandwidth to push it any faster, and even then, it is reasonable to expect the FM dial to go full digital before giving up altogether.


    I think radio will go on for decades. The programming has already been changing and will continue to do so. Gone are the days of big personality stations. Say hello to national programming. The only hope is local sports and/or play by play broadcasts. They still form a radio need.


    FM will go on indefinitely. Maybe more-so between 88-92. HD Radio isn’t dead for FM and could become a bigger player if all the stars were to align.

    AM should be phased out within 5 years. I mean by mandate, not market forces. It’s dead Jim.


    Radio will continue, but I wonder how many stations will be on the air in the next 10-20 years? Used to be making money was easier. Too much competition these days. The pie is cut thinner. I know quite a few small market owners. They barely keep the wolf away from the door. They automate and maybe do a morning show live, then sell the rest of the day. Where they were only station in town or maybe one out of two, there was plenty to pay the bills. Now even small towns can have a half a dozen stations.


    I have two Sony HD radios and it will be interesting to hear once the HD on FM is full time. But with stations operating with 10-20% of power in HD, I get only a few on the Oregon Coast in HD. 107.5 Portland is pretty regular in HD, but the other Portland stations come and go. KJR 95.7 Seattle is a regular in HD and a few others. But I wonder are there enough HD radios out there to support full time HD?


    Out of curiosity over Doc Searls’ reporting of the KDWN reduced nighttime power, I have been listening to 720 this evening. An ID just played, and I realized that what I am hearing is KFIR. There is a weak co-channel under it, which could be KDWN.

    It is sad to see AM fading away, but on the other hand,

    1) The first broadcasts intended for the general public happened nearly 100 years ago. Did the engineers of that era envision that 100 years in the future, radios from their time would still be usable?

    2) The United States is probably the place where AM broadcasting has held out the longest.

    3) Data collected up until the late 1980s showed, by extrapolation, that AM listenership would go to zero around 1995. This didn’t happen.

    I don’t understand how anybody would benefit from the FCC implementing a sunset date on the AM band. In many of the countries where AM has been abandoned, only the state-chartered public broadcaster had licenses to operate there. When those broadcasters decided that it did not make sense to operate redundant AM and FM networks, they just retired the AM networks. It was a cost-saving measure.

    Finally, I wish that Searls had mentioned the Brothers Grimm when describing the phenomenon of “retrieval.” The work that the Brothers Grimm undertook was that of collecting folk tales and writing them down. Thus, they represented written storytelling replacing oral traditions. Their anthologies were so successful that much of the public thinks of the stories in them as the brothers’ creations, rather than as works of folk fiction.


    Another possible source for income – rent out the broadcast studios for podcasters.

    The station group mentioned in the article is Washington Interstate Broadcasting in the Longview-Kelso area. The group owns KLOG (1490 AM) / K248CU (100.7) as well as Longview’s KUKN “Cookin’ Country” FM 105.5 . (KUKN-HD2 is also relayed on K268BN , branded as “101.5 The Wave”.)


    Headline: Local radio stations create Cowlitz Podcast Network to support those new to the field.

    By Katie Fairbanks Mar 16, 2021, Daily News

    Three locally owned radio stations — KLOG, Cookin’ Country and 101.5 The Wave — started a podcast network Monday to help residents produce podcasts without the need to purchase their own equipment.

    “Many people have great ideas for podcasts, but may not want to invest in the equipment, or know the steps to take to get started,” general manager John Paul said in a press release Monday. “The Cowlitz Podcast Network will make it easy to be your outlet for producing and promoting your podcast.”

    The stations had many people reach out and ask about borrowing studio space to make podcasts, Paul said. While there are national podcast networkers, there’s a hole locally, he said.

    Paul said he started considering the idea last year and began putting the studio together several weeks ago.

    Several people already have contacted the network, and Paul said he hopes a handful of podcasts will be ready to put on the website in the next month or so.

    Local nonprofits, experts in a field or anyone with a great idea for a podcast can rent the network’s podcast studio, which includes multiple mics and editing software, according to the release.

    Once a podcast is complete, the network will use the marketing arm of the three stations and digital advertising to market the podcasts, the release states. Podcasters will have to play network sponsors in their podcasts, but also can sell additional sponsors and keep 100% of that revenue, according to the network’s website.

    The podcast studio is open on a first-come, first-served basis from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Rental fees are $20 per one-hour session and $15 per one-hour session for nonprofits.

    Those interested can learn more at


    <<AM should be phased out within 5 years. I mean by mandate, not market forces. It’s dead Jim.>>

    The AM’s that are thriving in our area are Talk and Sports. At that, there are FM’s with similar formats which a bigger audience share. (In Portland, not Eugene.) Eugene still seems to have at least 3-4 AM’s that are viable.

    If the FCC were to phase out AM’s, say in 5 years as suggested. What would happen to those broadcasters? Would they move them to FM and repack the band? I suppose that could be done with VHF Channels 5 and 6 now freed up from the TV repack. The band is so incredibly crowded.

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