Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Is it worth the effort to try to save AM broadcast radio?


First, let me admit right up front that--even though I worked in broadcasting and was a personality on the AM radio band for many years--I am on record as predicting that the current 550-through-1700 kilohertz  portion of the spectrum will be an amateur radio band in less than ten years.

Well, now comes news that a current member of the Federal Communications Commission has mounted a crusade to try to save the AM broadcast band.  You remember what AM radio is, right?  There is probably a button on your car radio that says "AM."  The one you never push unless you live in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles.

HERE IS an article in the New York Times about Commissioner Pai and his hopes for keeping AM radio viable in the face of rapidly changing technology.  And, more importantly, in the face of consumer desires and preferences.  The article does a good job of refuting the ideas the commissioner has so I won't repeat them here.

For many reasons, I hope he is successful.  My heart says it is worth the fight.

My head, however, says, "Go find some other windmill to joust."

AM radio is dead.  Kaput.  Deceased.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I listen to AM radio every day. So I wouldn't say its dead just yet.

Tiana

Anonymous said...

Tiana, people still listen, and especially in a few major cities where AM stations still have decent ratings.

But the patient is on life support. He can be kept "alive" for a while yet. But the end is inevitable.

Don Keith
N4KC
www.donkeith.com

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Brady said...

As an old broadcaster myself, I'll agree that AM is in trouble...and FM is not far behind. For the $12 per month it costs me to get satellite radio I can listen to what I want, where I want and mostly with no commercials.

"Spots" used to pay my salary, but I fear for the industry in it's current format (pardon the pun).

With wireless data plans on phones, I also listen to Pandora and other online sources in the vehicle. Also, just plain "old" MP3s are often on the speakers.

Ironically, I'm on your site, Don, due to a post you made on Eham.net

My Jetstream power supply wasn't working and I saw you note about the fuse not making contact. Sure enough, that was my issue. Thanks for posting that. The internet is wonderful for such information sharing...even on such a trivial matter.

.....I was going to use my power supply to test my Sirius radio...that's the irony.

73
Brady
K0UC

Anonymous said...

Brady, thanks for stopping by. I agree totally. If people simply want one song after the other, they have many, many choices on a wide array of listening devices...including more and more in their cars, where traditional broadcasting once ruled. I still think tower-on-the-hill broadcasters can do well, but it will take far more than "The biggest hits of the 70s, 80s, 90s and today!" There has to be some "glue" between the songs to keep people stuck to their radio stations.

Glad you got the Jetstream working, too. Mine has never given me another second's worth of problem. It is a good supply.

73 and see you "on the wind!"

Don N4KC
www.n4kc.com
www.donkeith.com