The Future (or lack there of) for AM Radio

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This topic contains 33 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  nosignalallnoise 4 days, 8 hours ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 34 total)
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  • #41542

    Screamer
    Participant

    Andy had mentioned something about a FCC buyout of AM Radio in the future and I didn’t want to hijack the Towers thread with it.

    It seems to me that instead of a ‘buyout’, the likely move for AM is to go all digital or, have some kind of repack on FM where Non-Coms and non-com translators are moved into a new Non-Commercial band which starts on TV Channels 5 & 6 of the VHF band. (now that the TV repack is well underway) Everyone would get repacked on the FM band and AM would simply get shut off like in other countries.

    Thoughts?

    #41546

    Alfredo_T
    Participant

    I think that the process on AM would be more like slow attrition, rather than a shutoff. In many of the countries where a true AM shutoff took place (Norway, France, and others), the state-chartered public broadcaster was the only entity that was awarded AM licenses. At the moment there is not any alternate use for the AM broadcast band that is either being pushed by the government or for which corporations want to buy exclusive licenses.

    #41547

    Borderblaster
    Participant

    Localism or how the F¢¢ and the N@B turn radio into shit

    El localismo o cómo la F¢¢ la N@B convierten la radio en una mierda

    #41561

    Andy Brown
    Participant

    This article sums up the picture quite clearly. What happened to TV must happen to FM before the AM band can be cleared out. It can not be predicted how future technologies might use the bandwidth at those wavelengths but the FCC putting a plan up for consideration to go all FM digital and vacate the AM band might spur more and better research into what can be accomplished with it than has been done to date. It’s like THC research. It remains stifled until such time as there is some Federal indication that it’s going to be reclassified.

    https://radioink.com/2019/03/11/i-repeat-am-radio-is-dead/

    #41567

    Screamer
    Participant

    I agree. I think some kind of digital repack for both AM & FM is the way to go. I understand the holdouts who tout the distance a signal on the Am can travel, etc, etc, however, you have to look at how the technology is being adopted. If Nielsen breaks out ratings for an AM Station with a translator, I’m willing to bet 75% of the audience listens to the lower power FM translator as opposed to the higher power AM signal.

    #41569

    Broadway
    Participant
    #41570

    Borderblaster
    Participant

    Localismo o cómo las publicaciones comerciales de la industria de la radio están llenas de mierda.

    #41571

    Screamer
    Participant

    We get it, Borderblaster. You’re bitter and don’t like what the industry has become. Do you have anything to contribute other than trolling and bitterness?

    #41572

    nosignalallnoise
    Participant

    Just ignore fm_dxer. He loves being an ass.

    #41573

    Alfredo_T
    Participant

    When I read the emphatic Radio Ink piece, I saw that the author is Robert Lee, the owner of QXZ Media Works. I became very curious, as I had never heard of this company. I tried to research the company but came up with virtually nothing. There is an empty Facebook page. There is no corporate Web page. If I go to http://www.qxz.media/ I just see a Go Daddy page stating that the domain has been parked.

    What or who is QXZ Media Works? What if I declared myself the owner of Alfredo’s Media Works? Is there any proof that that would be different?

    #41574

    Broadway
    Participant
    #41575

    LinleyG
    Participant

    The reception of the analog AM radio signals could be sharply improved but if all stations were required to lock their carrier frequency to GPS. Listening to night time radio is painful for all but the few very local signals that are loud enough to overcome all the flutter caused by slightly off frequency sky wave signals. The “monkey chatter” caused by low amplitude sky wave signals would still be there, but at least the flutter and bounce caused by the carrier phases rolling with respect to each other would be absent.

    When AM radio was new, a +/-20 Hz frequency tolerance was very high tech; today it’s trivial. It’s easy to do much, much better. The parts cost of a simple system to lock the carrier to GPS is only a few hundred dollars. That is, a system that would hold the station within its present +/-20 Hz tolerance if GPS lock is lost but otherwise keep it locked to GPS. Therefore, if there were a market, one would expect a commercial unit to sell for less than $1k. I know of people that have ad hoc’ed system for half of that.

    A start would be to require all stations modifying their facilities to lock their carrier now, with a date in the future when all carrier’s must be locked.

    #41576

    Alfredo_T
    Participant

    When I visited Mexico, I routinely heard off-frequency carriers that made a 20 Hz frequency error sound like an extremely well run operation. Most of these stations were near the high end of the dial, but there was a station 540 that was pretty lousy, too.

    #41577

    Broadway
    Participant
    #41578

    lastday
    Participant

    Here’s a snippet of some more info about AM HD operating in MA3 Mode (there’s more at the link).

    https://recnet.com/node/2821

    REC has filed comments in response to Bryan Broadcasting Corporation’s Petition for Rulemaking to allow AM broadcast stations to voluntarily discontinue all AM analog broadcasting and convert to the HD Radio MA3 mode. MA3 is an all-digital operation. Two variants of MA3 will allow AM stations to operate in a 20 kHz wide channel where secondary and teritary sidebands more than 5 kHz from the center frequency are either reduced by 15 kHz or they are completely suppressed. The MA3 mode is a far departure from the “hybrid” MA1 mode which involves the use of a 30 kHz wide channel. In the past, the MA1 hybrid digital mode on AM, especially at night, has resulted in substantial first and second adjacent interference to analog AM stations forcing many stations to turn off the digital mode and leaving a bad taste in the mouths of AM listeners and radio enthusiasts across the nation. MA3 mode uses a narrower channel and therefore reduces the chances of digital to analog interference.

    Currently, WWFD(AM) in Frederick, MD is operating in MA3 mode under special temporary authority.

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