Seattle Radio Happenings

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    The good old days of KGY may be gone. But they still rockin on the net.

    An interesting Facebook posting from the Olympia Historical Society & Bigelow House Museum on the history of KGY and another article on mid-century modernism.

    Andy Brown

    After fighting off the first Petition To Deny and having their amended application reinstated, another Petition To Deny was filed and Pike Place Market And Preservation And Development Authority has given up its quest to put a new LPFM on 98.5 at the Market.


    This from All Access:

    Maynard Exits Hubbard/Seattle, Joins CCM+E As VP/Programming

    MAYNARD, who has been PD at HUBBARD Top 40 KQMV (MOVIN 92.5) & Hot AC KLCK (CLICK 98.9) has resigned after six years with the cluster to join CCM+E as a VP/Programming, according to an internal memo from HUBBARD/SEATTLE VP/GM MARC KAYE.

    The destination and duties for MAYNARD haven’t been announced — but ALL ACCESS hears that those details will all be made public on MONDAY (7/28), while MAYNARD begins a week long vacation.

    In the memo, KAYE wrote, “MAYNARD has been an integral part in so many ways contributing to the success of these operations over the last six years and I will never be able to express my gratitude to him for the huge effort he has put forth every day he has been here. I personally wish him nothing but great success in the future and I will miss him more than anyone can imagine.”

    KAYE told ALL ACCESS, “Whereas MAYNARD handled both stations, I will be splitting the PD duties of these two stations, so I will need two great programmers. All applicants can apply to me at for these EEO posts.”


    This from All Access:

    KJR’s Bob Rivers Hangs Up His Alarm Clock

    After 33-years of doing morning radio, CCM+E Oldies KJR-F/SEATTLE’s BOB RIVERS announced his heart-felt decision to step away and discontinue The BOB RIVERS Morning Show. Leading up to his final show on FRIDAY, AUGUST 8, 2014, the iconic SEATTLE personality will host 9 farewell shows to say goodbye to listeners, advertisers and co-workers.

    “BOB is a world-class talent, a true professional and radio genius, and it’s been our pleasure working with such a radio legend that inspired many in the industry to get into the business in their early years,” said CCM+E/SEATTLE VP/Programming KEITH CUNNINGHAM.

    “I’ve been on the radio for 42 years; since I was 16. 33-years doing morning drive, 25 of them being here in SEATTLE. Our show signed on 8/8/89 and our last show will be 8/8/2014. I will be forever grateful to the best audience and radio family one could hope for: SPIKE, JOE, JODI, ARIK, PEDRO and LUCIANA. I love y’all. This was not an easy decision for me, but you just know when it’s right. Hopefully we satisfy the old adage — leave them wanting more,” said RIVERS. “I’m the luckiest radio host in the world. Not only have I been surrounded by iconic talent and given free-reign to create a unique morning show, we’ve amassed an audience so loyal and loving that they have raised millions and saved children’s lives all over the world. We enjoyed great ratings over the years, but they only tell part of the story — the bond we’ve had as a cast and with our audience and trusted advertisers trumps all the #1’s we achieved. I’m about to be a grandfather, I don’t want to miss a minute of that. It’s time for my lovely wife, LISA, to get The BOB RIVERS Show live and in person every morning. There are projects waiting, like WORLD VISION, touring with HEART BY HEART, maybe popping up on radio from time-to-time.”


    This from All Access:

    NEW AGE MEDIA LTD. has closed on the sale of AC KWLE-A (1340 THE WHALE)/ANACORTES, WA from SAN JUAN COMMUNICATIONS, INC. for $480,000.


    This from All Access:

    KRKO, KKXA To Test All-Digital AM

    S-R BROADCASTING CO. Sports KRKO-A (FOX SPORTS RADIO 1380) and Classic Country KKXA-A (CLASSIC COUNTRY 1520 KXA)/EVERETT, WA, are the latest AM stations to participate in NAB LABS’ testing of all-digital AM broadcasting. The experimental broadcasts, the last of the FCC’s nine initial approved test stations, will be aired between OCTOBER 2nd and 6th. The tests will result in analog listeners hearing nothing during the test periods.

    GM ANDY SKOTDAHL said: “These all-digital tests are an important step in the evolution of an industry that produces great content at no charge to the consumer. People who want to listen to streaming audio on their cell phones know it kills their cell phone battery and can have a costly impact on their data plan. This technology will give us the ability to deliver all of our content with superior sound quality on our biggest distribution channel: the over-the-air transmitter.”


    There are no phones I know of capable of receiving an AM-HD digital broadcast.

    Streaming is slowly being carved out as something carriers need to encourage to add value to their platform. Actually using a smart phone conflicts with data caps and the reluctance of carriers to make ongoing investments in their networks to better serve users paying for service. At least one carrier has put some popular streaming services outside the data cap, and others may well follow.

    I’m just gonna ignore “superior” sound quality. It’s gonna compete nicely with the average stream though.

    In the car, this could make some sense. Depends on the topology where it’s used. When I sampled AM HD in the midwest, it was workable. Here in the North West, it’s gonna range from par to less, depending. All digital does mean no analog to fall back on. Then again, Satellite Radio suffers from this and people aren’t all that worked up over it, which favors this.

    IMHO, the big competition will be between streaming services making deals with carriers, who will move or modify data caps enough to preserve value, and downloadable / easily synchronized content. (podcasts)

    AM-HD will be range limited, streaming will not, nor will podcasts.

    I’ll just put quality as equal, and IMHO it mostly is.

    AM-HD will eventually have to run ADS, streaming and podcasts range from free, to AD funded, to subscription.

    AM-HD will most likely follow existing radio formats and “ideology”, streaming and podcasts may do that, but there is a lot of variety.

    Notably, AM-HD may well be at a disadvantage in the area of content innovation. Streaming and podcasts are already innovating in various ways.

    **Here we have the same old “quality” argument AGAIN!! I find it amazing to see the same shit, packaged in various ways (new brand every 6 months), yielding the same tepid results frequently associated with quality problems.

    Again, for the folks reading at home. You’ve got two options! One source is compelling but the quality is low, and the other source sounds great, but just isn’t compelling. Which do you use? Which do you think most people would use?

    It’s gonna be the interesting stuff in front for the vast majority of people!

    Content is king. Quality is nice, but content is king.

    As talk radio dives, I get the idea of using the AM stations to carve out a new niche. Totally. But, it’s actually gotta be NEW!

    Ok, back to the details now.

    AM-HD and streaming have some coverage issues. Phones don’t always have data service, and terrain / conditions will impact AM-HD reception. Podcasts require a sync / copy operation, which can be largely automated. Once that is done, playing the material is energy efficient and there are no coverage issues.

    AM-HD is a linear medium. Missed it? Well, hope you can get to the archives. What are those? Streams and podcasts, both of which can present a schedule, be on demand, and are non-linear in that users can rewind, seek an archive, share (depending), forward, whatever.

    AM-HD, streams, podcasts all have the potential to play ADS within the program, and all can be customized per region. Streams and podcasts can be granular down to the listener who requested them, if desired.

    AM-HD requires a newer, capable radio. Streams and podcasts require only a computer and most any smartphone in use today.

    AM-HD reception isn’t on smartphones today. (correct me on this, if I’m wrong) FM reception is on some smartphones. Typically, this means radio will require one carry or have access to a radio.

    Here’s a subtle but important one:

    AM-HD, and radio use in general, conflicts with the “in car” smart phone model. One very nice benefit of using a smartphone for streaming / podcasts, is that one gets their phone calls. The show is suspended and the phone call gets focus, often possible hands free. Once the call is done, the show returns and continues.

    Here’s the subtle bit: Most phones can do this even on older car systems, requiring only some reasonable way to get audio into the car system. AM-HD will require newer car systems, a newer third party radio, and some integration be done to manage phones. Currently, this kind of thing is being done for (some) Apple phones, leaving Android out of the loop.

    Using the phone for both is less overall activity compared to radio overall.

    The impact of this is clear, and comparable to what happened to AM radio overall when auto manufacturers and phone manufacturers left it out of the equation, or degraded it. Younger listener share, even just sampling, went to near zero.

    If any of this stuff, syncing, having a car integration done (to allow seamless phone / radio interaction model) as examples, is too much trouble, it won’t get adopted. A lean UX model (what one does to get shit done, basically) is the expected and growing norm.

    AM-HD isn’t something one would use an app to interact with. We call that a stream 🙂

    Few people understand what AM-HD actually is. “HD Radio” in general isn’t widely understood, just as AM-Stereo wasn’t, and we’ve gone over why here many, many times too. Everybody understands what a stream is, and many understand podcasts. Apps fill those gaps nicely, and pretty much everybody knows what an app is.

    **So there you go. The core differentiators as I see them. Man, if I were in sales, I would very rapidly get to one singular question:

    “What content will I have that won’t be on streaming and podcasts?”

    If there is a good answer to that, maybe this can have a positive impact. If there isn’t a good answer to that, I’m going to get that resume out and fresh, because it’s gonna be brutal.

    Now, to be fair, there is a quality problem with ordinary AM. Newer radios do not reproduce it well, and an entire generation doesn’t even understand why or what to look for. For those people who do understand, the content isn’t really there, or it’s niche / ethnic.

    That aside, the core radio issue just isn’t quality. FM is good, FM-HD is better, and radio adopting streams and podcasts (to which I have some great ideas I might let go someday…) can bring things to people in a way that is relevant and can compete on quality overall.

    The core issue IS CONTENT. When I see stuff like, “All our content..” I think, “Really?” What content? No joke. That’s the problem!

    And “content” can be people and the “cool” also written here many times, or it can be music, or it can be talk, or it can be themed shows, whatever.

    So what exactly is the goal here? Is it to maximize the use of AM stations to the older listeners? If so, OK. That could plug the big hole we’ve got in talk radio due to Limbaugh fucking it all up, and due to corporate radio not actually doing leftie talk, among many other things.

    But will that actually deliver returns? Will older people continue to get newer radios? Maybe!

    If the goal is to improve relevance and pick up the generation of lost listeners, a mere quality move won’t cut it.


    Yes I know, another radio negative post. Hey guys! I LOVE radio. Most of us here do.

    I hate to see money spent on yet another quality initiative with tepid potential, though it can have some sales potential, if nothing else to show *something* is being done, when the real issue is content innovation, and specifically, improved daily relevance.

    Rule Based Radio (RBR, you read it here first TM) isn’t all that relevant, has shallow, if any real drama, and it’s not well suited to informing people, if that’s the basis for the broadcast.

    Doesn’t matter how nice it might sound. Sort of like, “Nice girl, no brains, too bad…”

    At least with iHEART, I can go get streams from anywhere there happens to be some radio worth listening to, or a great podcast… I will stream a little lefty talk that way, but I also will increasingly get that via podcast / app / stream too.

    Maybe one of these days, when the debt house of cards falls down, somebody can pick up the pieces and get to work on content and there will be more interesting and positive discussion.


    I wish we had a local station that was doing the testing. It would be interesting to hear the sound quality of a pure digital signal.

    Andy Brown

    The big issue to get there is the interim period with hybrid operations, which require more bandwidth. Clearing out a lot of stations cluttering the dial has to be done in order to roll out hybrid before fully digital AM either with IBOC or DRM. Once you go fully digital across the entire band, more stations can be added back in since the bandwidth requirement is lessened by not having the old analog modulated carrier.

    The other technical note worth mentioning is that antenna parameters are highly critical to performance. No high VSWR situations can be tolerated and common point impedances must be symmetrical on both sides of center (X Ohms at +j6 @ 5 kHz below carrier must equal X Ohms at –j6 @ 5 kHz above carrier).

    Both systems (IBOC and DRM) are technologies that use orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) technology which are employing many small digital carriers in the frequency spectrum assigned.

    As a result, the “sound” is almost as good as FM analog stereo in the hybrid modes.

    “I wish we had a local station that was doing the testing. It would be interesting to hear the sound quality of a pure digital signal.”

    Depends on what audio codecs they go with.

    Both systems have bit rate limitations, of course, so bit reduced audio codecs are required. iBiquity had its codec developed by Coding Technologies (now Dolby) and calls it HDC. It is proprietary and firm details on it are not published. Some have called it similar to AAC+ with SBR. It has a dual mode capability when using the two AM modes (core and enhanced). DRM utilizes the AAC standard, so we believe the codecs are quite similar in efficiency and audio quality at a given bit rate although iBiquity claims they might have a slight edge at lower bit rates.

    Also, we don’t really know how good it will be when other stations in analog and hybrid mode are still present on co channel and adjacent channels to a pure digital station. It will take years to get to a purely digital dial, but it will take until then to really know how much improved it is.

    The bean counters will love it, though, because you won’t need anywhere near as much power to get the same coverage.


    Curious how they plan for analog only listeners to hear “silence” during the all digital operation.

    It’s well known that silence is not what a digital carrier sounds like on an analog tuner.


    Transitioning from analog radio to digital will be tougher if it requires one to get all new equipment to get the signal. Right now, I have two radios in the house: My alarm clock (set to KOPB-FM) and my boom box which has AM, FM, and my CD player. It’ll be harder to switch over than it did for TV if this turns out to be the case.

    When the UK switched from analog to digital TV, they did it on a gradual region by region basis, with the last switch outs taking place in Northern Ireland in 2011. A switch to digital radio here might call for a gradual, region by region handover, instead of doing it all at once, as we did for TV a few years back. And of course, there’s the question of whether or not you abandon FM for AM or vice versa with a digital switchover. Some stations will be put out of business, because switching means spending big bucks, and not every station boasts having a big bucks ownership, especially in small markets.

    Best, Mike 8)


    Homeland Security or some arm of the feds should make sure there are enough AM stations with Franklin Antennae or equivalent to cover the entire country in case of national emergency. This shouldn’t be left entirely to the private sector.

    Just saying. I remember when the radio dial had Civil Defense icons at the designated emergency frequencies. Does that even still exist?

    Is there anyone left in radio engineering who could duplicate that Franklin setup without reverse-engineering an existing one?


    Conerad marks on radios from 1951-1964:

    Duplicate Franklin antenna?

    Why not? basic principals are unchanged/understood, and sophisticated computer antenna modeling programs now exist… it should be much easier than in the slide rule days of the 40s.

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