The health and future of broadcasting AM

This is emotional, of course. After all, the AM radio is one of the oldest uses of the entire radio spectrum (from ~ 1919), as evidenced in part by the medium frequency band in which it started and still works. There is not much air left in the other activity that is earlier in the spectrum, perhaps only the Maritime Service, some public coastal stations (telegrams abroad), and fans. AM broadcasting is one of the first children of the spectrum of the Mother, and will be sad to see him go.

But there you go. It was essentially the same operation through a turbulent period in the advancement of technology and telecommunications, and that does not fit any longer. As a means it can not compete effectively, its audience is shrinking, the economy is poor, and in the long run it's probably best just to close, with appreciation and admiration, and to move forward. The curmudgeon to try to make that case.

Mandated by the FCC, for decades the U.S. has been provided with dual band AM-FM radios to consumers. Everyone in the U.S. have access to the FM broadcast band, everyone appreciates the advantage of the inherent quality of FM (stereo) holds. The decrease in PM's market share and the limited variety of programming widely indicate that fact.

There was once a time when AM radio signals come across the sparsely populated area, with news and entertainment to isolated rural communities. The existence of a dozen free channel overnight AM station assignments in those days said Everyplace in America could be connected to the major population centers in a way never before possible.

But not anymore. Clear Channel AM station assignments have long since passed into history. Almost all of the burgh now has its own FM station, or can be serviced by a nearby city. Satellite Radio signals can rain down almost everywhere in the U.S. Continental, with more diverse programming and an airline that exists throughout the AM broadcast band. The Internet can provide worldwide radio programs in the abundance of vertigo.

So what is the current state of the AM Let's look at the engineering side first. There have been major improvements in the basic transmission system of about seventy-five years. Old technical limitations remain limited bandwidth, audio frequency, not the inherent noise immunity for the reception, and an engineering nightmare spectrum management due to ionospheric propagation overnight. The VHF FM broadcast band has none of these.

And there is much hope for the future of AM or improvement. Well, no transmission of high definition AM (ie, IBOC). True, it does help to close some of the differences in performance with FM. However, IBOC, as currently practiced, actually requires 20 kHz (occupied bandwidth) channels, just look at a spectrum analyzer to see for yourself. Therefore, if you want to rescue the AM band IBOC, then the plan to redesign the whole band in a web of channels of 20 kHz.

From an economic point of view, can not compete with the FM music programming, which includes most of the radio broadcasting arena. All programming is now offering AM (usually) is a news  sports  talk. And all those formats would certainly fit in FM as well. There's really nothing in the programming of AM that is unique for longer. Amos and Andy, along with the major networks are now a thing of the past.

It has come to this that there is no need for AM broadcasting longer! We can move quite well with FM terrestrial  satellite  Internet radio. Therefore, with many tears bouncing your desktop, the curmudgeon says Let's 'sun' that! Let's pick a date, maybe fifteen or twenty years into the future, which, with great nostalgia and fanfare, we will just turn it off. In the same way we manage the future cessation of terrestrial television broadcasting.

And many of the points in the planning also apply to AM radio sunseting that apply to terrestrial television. These stations should receive accelerated depreciation tax credits for its transmission facilities and the value of their licenses. They can also expect handsome windfall profits from the eventual sale of their transmission sites, around which the communities have grown. These are very valuable parcels of land!

But what about the continuity of its programming after sunseting Aha, the technology to the rescue! Its programming, news  sports  talk channels, fits quite well in the HD-2, HD-3 channels, etc., of the city-de-licensing VHF-FM stations. In fact, at least one of the major metropolitan news AM station has begun simulcasting its flow throughout the main program on the HD-2 channel of an FM station owned by the same city. In fact, saving everything worthwhile can be embedded in HD FM.

Finally, once you have liberated more than one megahertz frequency spectrum average, which in the world can we do with it That question took some ideas on the part of the old curmudgeon, but at least a clear answer finally emerged.

With the surface coverage inherent in the transmission from Monday to Friday, the Megahertz AM would be ideal for a regional broadband service data distribution for the public safety community! What a wonderful asset that could become the possibility of maps, photographs, drawings and text messages simultaneously to the first responders in all parts, dealing with major disasters and emergencies! And to do so in a way that no system of VHF  UHF  Microwave could do. That alone is worth the price of admission. Re-use of the band for this purpose is almost poetic After all, public safety one way to send voice began in 1930 and 1940, with the use of AM transmitters in the right channels above the upper end of the conventional AM band!