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 Post subject: Re: Another Reason why AM Radio is in Trouble
PostPosted: Oct Sun 02, 2016 10:09 pm 
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Renton481 wrote:
The AM band is dying because of aging demographics.

The AM band serves more than just Anglos.
Here in the Los Angeles area we have 26 foreign language stations, serving their ethnic communities and broadcasting in "Asian" (Chinese, Thai, Korean) and of course Spanish, most but not all in the 1200-1650 "local" frequencies.
I certainly doubt they will die anytime soon.

Renton481 wrote:
And there will be no expansion of the FM broadcast band. .

And good luck finding a vacant slot for a new station in that band in a major market area.

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 Post subject: Re: Another Reason why AM Radio is in Trouble
PostPosted: Oct Mon 03, 2016 12:15 am 
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Pbpix wrote:
That's what led to the demise of drive-in movie theaters as well.


I've often wondered if the invention of bucket seats didn't have some part in this too. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Another Reason why AM Radio is in Trouble
PostPosted: Oct Mon 03, 2016 12:51 am 
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ve1arn wrote:
Pbpix wrote:
That's what led to the demise of drive-in movie theaters as well.


I've often wondered if the invention of bucket seats didn't have some part in this too. :D


Naaah, those made crawling into back seat easier... :mrgreen:


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 Post subject: Re: Another Reason why AM Radio is in Trouble
PostPosted: Oct Mon 03, 2016 1:13 am 
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Yes I see that.Land is too valuable in some areas as we see.Those 4 tower , 2 tower stations tie up alot of landscape and the clutter of cell towers pop up from nowhere as they have a small footprint.Also sad to see the local drive in close here years ago and the land was turned into a car dealership.

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 Post subject: Re: Another Reason why AM Radio is in Trouble
PostPosted: Oct Mon 03, 2016 1:27 am 
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Off topic but...

I was looking at Google Earth the other day and I noticed that large areas of the west are dotted with those round irrigation sprinklers, for agriculture, because it don't rain enough. In Ohio, where irrigation is almost never neccessary, large areas of farmland is being converted to housing developements. :(

Charlie


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 Post subject: Re: Another Reason why AM Radio is in Trouble
PostPosted: Oct Mon 03, 2016 1:53 am 
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I'm 69. I grew up with, enjoyed listening to and eventually worked in radio. It was my favorite source for music, entertainment, news and education. Now I am lucky enough to be around and interact with a large number of teenagers, 20 and 30 every day.

I think a lot of people our age just don't realize that people in that age group, simply see no need for terrestrial broadcasting of any kind, AM or FM. Now you listen to your own Spotify mixes. You discover new music, on your favorite satellite channel or YouTube. News, weather and sports are on your phone. Because your sat. receiver and your phone know where you are, local content can be added. We may be nostalgic (myself included) for the old days, but to the aforementioned age group, broadcasting to the public, from a local transmitter with the annoying commercials, is a thing of the past.

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 Post subject: Re: Another Reason why AM Radio is in Trouble
PostPosted: Oct Mon 03, 2016 4:28 am 
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"If you owe $10000 or more in back taxes- we can help you settle for less!"
"Reverse mortgage and enjoy life again"

What does the ad demographic suggest here? They must be cost effective because they run them constantly. And most of all, thanks for the reminder

Our night shift guy in his late 20s would get there early sometimes and sit in his car, just sitting there. So I asked him what and he said - (Dxing) listening to Steelers games on WGBB and was able to state the freq in kilohertz. So, it's not all of em.


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 Post subject: Re: Another Reason why AM Radio is in Trouble
PostPosted: Oct Mon 03, 2016 7:05 am 
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charlief64 wrote:


I think a lot of people our age just don't realize that people in that age group, simply see no need for terrestrial broadcasting of any kind, AM or FM. Now you listen to your own Spotify mixes. You discover new music, on your favorite satellite channel or YouTube. News, weather and sports are on your phone. Because your sat. receiver and your phone know where you are, local content can be added. We may be nostalgic (myself included) for the old days, but to the aforementioned age group, broadcasting to the public, from a local transmitter with the annoying commercials, is a thing of the past.

What's a Spotify mix?

Regardless, there are 4700 live AM stations in the country, apparently not going out of biz anytime soon. And how do I listen to the local high school football games, as one example, if not on AM radio...On a cell phone? Wouldn't the battery go dead before the game was over?

Never happen with a Transistor radio... :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Another Reason why AM Radio is in Trouble
PostPosted: Oct Tue 04, 2016 8:14 am 
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To me, coming from the Generation-X demographic, it seems extremely counter-intuitive that people who are 15-30 years younger than I are most comfortable discovering new music in a way that is very impersonal (that is, by having a computer recommend songs). When I was growing up, the new music was pitched by people, be it on commercial radio, university stations, or MTV. In most cases, the enthusiasm that these people demonstrated was likely fake, but the listeners could at least easily suspend disbelief.

Unfortunately, the old-style personality music radio is largely gone partly because the formats geared toward Generation-X are becoming more and more focused on older, familiar songs (which do not need to be hyped-up by DJs) and because economics in the broadcast industry are making airstaff into expensive overhead. Perhaps all of my comments so far have been off topic because Generation-X and those following them did not overwhelmingly turn to AM radio as a musical outlet.

Today, it seems that much of the personality is on talk radio. I am not particularly interested in sports talk, but when I do happen to run across sports talk shows, I notice that they're not really about arcane sports trivia and statistics. They're entertainment, and there is a certain culture, if you will, about them. Yes, if one just wants scores from a game, it is much more efficient to pick up a phone or to go to a computer, but I think that the sports talk people are doing something different.


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 Post subject: Re: Another Reason why AM Radio is in Trouble
PostPosted: Oct Tue 04, 2016 8:28 am 
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Alfredo_T wrote:

Today, it seems that much of the personality is on talk radio.

That's an interesting observation. Eons ago, the AM radio personalities were spinning platters.

I guess there has been an evolution of sorts, what with music pretty much gone from AM now, but the personality aspect still in existence.

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 Post subject: Re: Another Reason why AM Radio is in Trouble
PostPosted: Oct Tue 04, 2016 10:44 pm 
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I lost interest in broadcast radio long before the advent of the Internet because my tastes aren't mainstream. The 'net has been a godsend for those of us who listen to stuff that doesn't have a large enough audience to pay the transmitter bills.


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 Post subject: Re: Another Reason why AM Radio is in Trouble
PostPosted: Oct Wed 05, 2016 1:01 pm 
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This is hardly a new phenomenon. One need only look at the history of Ontario Speedway to see that. Largest capacity facility of its kind west of the Mississippi when it opened in 1970, hosted virtually every class of Motorsport and was gone by 1981 due to increased property values.


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 Post subject: Re: Another Reason why AM Radio is in Trouble
PostPosted: Oct Wed 05, 2016 8:14 pm 
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2 new AM talk format stations opened in our area. Now it's either Glenn Beck, some localoid, Don Imus, or Hugh Hewitt in the early morning, OR the evening programming on ABC. They have a program of Australian country western music.

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 Post subject: Re: Another Reason why AM Radio is in Trouble
PostPosted: Oct Fri 07, 2016 6:40 am 
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fifties wrote:

The AM band serves more than just Anglos.
Here in the Los Angeles area we have 26 foreign language stations, serving their ethnic communities and broadcasting in "Asian" (Chinese, Thai, Korean) and of course Spanish, most but not all in the 1200-1650 "local" frequencies.
I certainly doubt they will die anytime soon.


We have ethnic radio stations here in the Seattle-Tacoma metro (eight or more on AM -- depending on which cities you count as part of the metro area) and at least 2 ethnic stations on FM).

But even with the ethnic broadcasters, AM radio is dealing with older demos. The young people listen to FM -- that is, if they even listen to radio.

I don't think AM will completely die out, as I've said before. I think it will go all digital before then. And immigration as well as overall population growth may keep it alive. FM is full, and streaming on your cell phone can be expensive.


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 Post subject: Re: Another Reason why AM Radio is in Trouble
PostPosted: Oct Fri 07, 2016 12:26 pm 
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The idea of AM going digital -- or anything else in that capacity -- is a tough sell. There are literally billions of AM radios out there, and just about anything made since around 1980 has FM as well. Why do people listen to AM or FM? Content. Content. Content.

Sure, FM sounds better than AM, but just how long did it take for FM to become the dominant band? Lessee, from 1939 -- okay, after the war, 1946, through the 1950's, 60's, by 1970 most people had FM in their homes and a few had it in their cars, 1980, most cars had them. Around the mid-80's you started seeing the good AM music stations start to disappear. So -- 40 years? And now the trend is moving away from AM/FM and toward Sirius/XM and streaming music from cell phones. Uh, HD radios -- anyone bought one? Not exactly the hottest item around.

Why do you listen to Sirius/XM instead of AM or FM? Commercials? Some of those satellite stations have commercials, but most don't. The big thing is content.

AM radio is mostly talk. Sports talk, I guess there must be some sports fanatics out there because the stations are still there. News and comment -- yes I listen to certain talk shows because I get mote truthful information from them than the network news. Music, on AM forget it. On FM there is some stations that are unlistenable, some "light" stations that put you to sleep, and some "oldies" stations that pick 20-30 songs and play them over and over. I can listen to stations elsewhere via streaming that provide much more variety. Satellite also gives more variety, but probably the biggest variety even in that department comes from the ability to change stations, with several offering music.

I suppose AM or FM radio might snap right back if they began playing, or some band starts singing, new music that I might actually want to listen to. Whatever happened to top 40, when you couldn't wait to hear a certain song again?

We're yearning for content. If it were to show up on AM radio, that's where we'd migrate.

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 Post subject: Re: Another Reason why AM Radio is in Trouble
PostPosted: Oct Fri 07, 2016 4:45 pm 
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The ambc sta I worked at has its tower in the middle of some swampy ground in the heart of Omaha's ghetto, doubt any developers will be flashing millions at its owners any time soon. Lousy neighborhood but excellent daytime coverage with only 1kw, out to Des Moines in the east, KC in the south, you get the idea. I always wanted to do some HAM radio at the site when the tx was shut down for the nite, but the goings on in the hood after dark made me think twice.


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 Post subject: Re: Another Reason why AM Radio is in Trouble
PostPosted: Oct Fri 07, 2016 6:40 pm 
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The main appeal, I am pretty sure, of sports talk is not to listeners but to ad buyers. This is a format that is designed to appeal to Generation-X men. Because it is a talk format, listeners are supposedly more likely to resist the urge to dial surf when the commercials come on and listen to them, instead.


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 Post subject: Re: Another Reason why AM Radio is in Trouble
PostPosted: Oct Sat 08, 2016 12:58 am 
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There are only 3 AM stations receivable with decent strength during the day in the Utica, NY area now. One does a very good job with local news and talk in the mornings then switches to conservative talk for the rest of the day and evening. Another is total ESPN sports with some local play-by-play and Yankees during the baseball season. The 3rd, with a somewhat weaker signal, is Imus-in-the-Morning then satellite oldies music for the rest of the day. It drops to even lower power at night. There were 3 other AM stations receivable well in Utica but they have all gone completely off the air for financial reasons.

Dave


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 Post subject: Re: Another Reason why AM Radio is in Trouble
PostPosted: Oct Sat 08, 2016 2:56 am 
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Greetings to the Forum:

I've posted something like this before, but I will post again since I have refined it a little bit. I am also inviting amendments.... not just wholesale criticism; I've got plenty of that already! :lol:

However, actual wording that might be incorporated into an NPRM and that would refine the concept and make it conform more closely to what most of us at ARF would like to see, would be welcome.

Here are some thoughts on how to reorganize / revitalize the AM band. As has been pointed out before, content is critical. Unfortunately, content is hard to come by and even harder to commercialize. Since AM seems to be dying on the vine anyway, I propose that the AM broadcast service be reorganized along the following lines. These are only basic thoughts; someone would have to do some research to make sure the package is self-consistent and logical before being presented to the FCC as an NPRM. Some people might add "practical" to the requirements, but I submit that we won’t know the practicality until we try it.

Here goes:

I. Split the AM band into two segments: 1000 KHz and up 990 KHz and down. With the exception of 50 KW major stations with large antenna arrays (such as KFI, for example), all commercial broadcasters wishing to remain on AM must re-locate to 1000 KHz and above. The remaining high power large stations will be protected from class H stations as defined below.

II. Create a new class of license for the portion of the band 990 KHz and below. Let’s call it class H for “Hobby” broadcasting.

A. Hobby broadcasters would be prohibited from receiving payment for airing any programming and must not air any commercial advertising with the exception of vintage advertising which would be found embedded in classical radio programs from the 1950’s and earlier or likely to be associated with such programming.

B. Hobby broadcasters need not satisfy any specific service contours. Protection will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

1. Class H stations shall be limited to a maximum of 375 watts carrier power daytime and 100 watts night.
2. Class H stations may not employ asymmetrical modulation and will be limited to 5 KHz audio bandwidth.
3. Class H stations may employ any antenna system that will fit on the licensee’s property provided that no part of the antenna system or its support structure shall exceed fifty feet AGL and that the provisions of the regulations for protecting the public against excessive exposure to RF radiation are complied with.
4. Class H stations shall conform to the requirements for all other classes of AM broadcast stations regarding frequency stability, purity of emissions, etc.
5. Class H stations shall make annual measurements of the signal so as to prove the spectral purity of the emissions except that such measurements may be made with a sense antenna located on the transmitter site; remote measurements shall not be required.
6. Class H stations exceeding 10 watts carrier power shall be required to comply with EAS requirements except that weekly tests shall not be required.
7. Measurements of a class H station’s service contour shall only be required when another class H station requests the same frequency in such proximity to the first station that interference may be reasonably supposed to be likely. In such cases, all costs of contour measurement shall be born by the entity applying for the new class H license. The results of such measurements shall be made public and reported to the FCC for determination of grant.

C. Class H stations shall be bound by all FCC regulations regarding content regarding the transmission of indecent or profane language, etc.

D. Class H stations may be licensed to an individual or a 501.C.3 non-profit corporation. All licensees must be independent of and not controlled by any other corporation or organization. No other corporation may hold a seat on the board of the licensee corporation and no member of the board or individual licensee may be a member of any other corporate board of any sort or hold any position with any entity engaged in broadcasting. All licensees must own the station property (location of transmitter and antenna). No class H station may air programming that is of specific benefit or interest to any other entity except the class H station. Exception: A class H station may be licensed to a recognized museum and may carry content associated with that museum and its exhibits. In the event that such a museum requests a class H license, the antenna and transmitter facilities must be co-located with the museum proper.

E. The FCC may charge a reasonable fee for the establishment of a class H license to defer its expenses in regards to such licensing process. In no case is such a fee to exceed $250.00. The FCC may charge a reasonable fee for renewal of a class H license, but in no case shall such a renewal fee exceed 10% of the fee charged to establish the license in the first place.


There you have it... let the flames begin.

Regards,

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Jim T.
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Last edited by Jthorusen on Feb Tue 11, 2020 4:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Another Reason why AM Radio is in Trouble
PostPosted: Oct Sat 08, 2016 3:31 am 
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I'll comment on this, but please don't consider this a flame.

First off, the idea behind this seems rather innocent at the outset, but I think this is pure fantasy as it will be very problematic on many fronts.

The FCC regulates radio propagation. They ensure that the signals generated comply to standards, and the standards are written mainly to allow the stations to serve the public while preventing interference to others. The license fees go mainly to cover the costs of regulation.

Now, in reality, how much actually goes where? I don't know; government is what it is, and whether it is run efficiently is another matter. What I'm saying is that the rules are there for that reason.

The propagation is based on the listening area, and proximity to other stations in other locales, making sure one does not step on another, and also taking into consideration such things as sky waves which can interfere with signals in another city.

There are folks out there with Part 15 transmitters, as well as other transmitters that run illegally. I'm sure many of them try to keep the signals from causing interference, but in many cases there may be plenty of interference from Part 15 stations. Complaints come in every day regarding radio listeners who cannot get their favorite station because somebody with a Part 15, or other, is putting their signal right on top of what they want to hear. Such complaints are so numerous that the FCC cannot respond to all of them -- they pick the biggest violators and try to track them down. Pirate stations take advantage of this, and often broadcast for years before the FCC gets around to seeking them out. It's that bad.

So -- imagine the FCC, who regulates commercial stations in cities after applying for licenses, allows smaller transmitters to run things in neighborhoods. They would require 100 times the staff, just to tell you what pattern you should use. And then, these guys who are mostly hobbyists, typically have no clue how to adjust an antenna, or take field strength measurements, or spend any time at all figuring out where their signal is and is not going. This, added to various kit-built and homebrew devices which may or may not comply -- and these are the responsible ones. Anyone out there who have messed with CB, did you ever go down a bit and listen to low-banders? Yikes! Talk about a sewer! And of course they're not exactly putting out 5 watts; foot-warmers a-plenty! I can guaran-darn-TEE you these guys will run wild on that hobby band; some do it already in the broadcast band as pirates. There is no way the FCC could even begin to regulate the anarchy that would result.

Sure, you may have the best of intentions with your idea, and it sounds like a wonderful plan, but in reality this is what you would expect.

And then, and then, there is the concept of music licensing. This is not necessarily FCC; it's a private legal issue with the music industry. Commercial stations pay for the music they play, as royalties to the artists. Creation of a hobby band would do to the broadcast industry what Napster did to records -- kill sales to the point where nobody seems to have records anymore, just flash drives with music they got from their friends. Indeed, the hobby stations would undercut the real commercial stations that pay for all the regulation (which is intended to protect them) and who pay dearly for their license to play music.

Sure, the idea is a cute one -- and would be fun for those who have to desire to want to try amateur broadcasting, but the rules in place now are the best way, in my opinion, to allow some of this to take place -- on private property or for about a city block -- for those who wish to tinker with the radio waves. A block or so is a private party, and limits the potential interference problems that might occur.

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