Thursday, August 14, 2014

Someone please help me understand

by Don Keith N4KC

Maybe someone can explain something to me.  Article in an industry email newsletter today:

Pai seeks deeper AM radio fixes.
FCC commissioner Ajit Pai yesterday renewed his call for moving forward on proposed quick fixes to help AM radio. During a meeting with Ohio broadcasters, he said elimination of the so-called ratchet rule and setting an FM translator window designed for AM broadcasters top his list.

Now, how will allowing more AM broadcasters to put up FM translators re-broadcasting their AM programming help save the AM band?

Okay, so maybe it allows them to make enough money to keep their AM transmitter on the air, but it also clutters up the FM band, puts more marginal signals there that will drive even more listeners to alternative audio sources, and opens things up to even more abuse.

Abuse?  Having big-market/multiple-station owners putting sham AM stations on the air just to be able to re-broadcast them on FM is abuse.  So is using so-called HD2 channel audio to program a translator.  Neither leads to greater use of stations on the AM broadcast band.

Please, someone, tell me where I am missing how this plan is the salvation of AM radio.  And tell me why AM even needs to be saved if the marketplace has already determined it is no longer needed.

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