The end of AM radio

It is painfully obvious now that the way the FCC is going to “save” AM radio is to destroy it. Part of the dowry that arrived with the Countess is a Bose wave radio. Other than infrequent use inside the car, I have not listened to over the air radio in a very long time.

WBT-AM is the big AM heritage station. We are less than three miles from the transmitter towers, so it booms in. The other news talk stations, not so much. WBCN-AM, the expanded band station doesn’t come in at all at night. While tuning the FM band, I found a news/talk “station” on FM that was not in the database. It turns out Beasley (who bought the CBS stations) switched an existing FM translator to be a simulcast of WBCN-AM, probably as a translator of the HD2 channel of an FM that was already simulcasting the AM station. Although only 250 watts, it was booming in.

WRHL-AM in Rock Hill has a scratchy fringe signal during the day, but an FM translator that booms in during the day. WGNC-AM also carries news/talk, but very sketchy reception. It has an FM translator that might not be hearable, but I didn’t check yet.

The latest FCC rules change relaxed the rules so FM translators can reach listeners beyond the protected contour of the original AM license. Translators are very inexpensive and easy to relocate.

I can’t imagine why anyone would want an AM license other than as a legality to operate an FM translator. The only AM stations in this area that aren’t already available on FM are Spanish language and prerecorded religious fund solicitations. Once a car radio switches to FM, it isn’t going back. And with the new options, it can’t be assumed that over the air AM/FM is even a reasonable choice.

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12 Responses to The end of AM radio

  1. Parrott says:

    Yesterday, Alex reported that Protesters were out in front of chairman of the FCC, supposedly wanting Net neutrality to close down Brietbart, Drudge, Infowars.
    mega stupidity everywhere.
    I bet ‘pad thai’ enjoyed that.


    • Fred Stiening says:

      Ajit Pai is trying to get the FCC out of running the Internet. Jones doesn’t inderstand the internet behind the scenes – he is not the only one

      • TheChairman says:

        Along those lines, let us pose a question: Considering the original intent of the ‘web’ was to ensure continuity of communications and gov’t in the event of a nuclear attack, what percentage of the Internet would be decimated by a few low orbit EMP events?

        • Fred Stiening says:

          My cousin is a nuclear scientist and I asked him early on how real the threat from EMP was – is it real or just a pretext for adding costs to government procurement contracts.

          Mitigating EMP is that most backbone traffic is being carried on fiber optics instead of copper or coax, so the pulses would not be carried through the cables into the data centers. The large data centers / IP exchanges probably have grounded Faraday cages built into the design of the building, especially if government traffic runs through the building.

          My cousin’s response was something along the lines of while EMP is real, the threat is more localized because of how quickly the pulse falls off with distance. The bugger risk is probably the general loss of electric power. While the high end data centers might have backup generator power, eventually they need delivery of fuel

        • briand75 says:

          Fred nailed it. The electrical distribution system is at high risk. The pulse would instantly overload exposed lines within the affected EMP radius. This effectively takes out the transformers, reactors and other conditioning and voltage increasing gear. The theory is that no power ultimately means no money and no food. If you have attended survivalist training, you are aware of the three day window to safety at that point.

          • haiti222 says:

            Also, I think that there could be a cascade effect. I remember the big blackout almost 15 years ago kind of went all the way around Lake Erie and part of Ontario, and then made all the way to NYC as well.

            • Fred Stiening says:

              Back in the day, electricity generation and consumption was mostly local. With deregulation, electricity travels further, inviting that kind of cascading blackout. When a nuclear plant drops off the grid, it goes into emergency shutdown, further complicating getting tge grid stabilized

        • TheChairman says:

          Yes, backbone OC3, OC48, trunk lines, etc are fiber… however, most end-users (homes, businesses, etc) have non-optical connections (copper) to local switches, so there is a funnel effect back from the non-optical side.

          Power grid has been teetering for decades, but now we connect lots of highly sensitive electronics: utility smart meters, transportation control systems, grocery/ retail POS systems, supply chain networks, banks/ATMs, etc.

          Part of my point was that the FCC oversees the EAS, yet I don’t see any parallel focus on the Internet and IOT. They seem far more concerned by ‘net(flix) neutrality’.

          • briand75 says:

            The fiber would be fine (warm perhaps), but the repeaters along the way as well as the A/D equipment would be fried almost instantaneously depending on field intensity. Our phones, PC’s and TV’s would become refugees from the electronic scrap heap.

  2. briand75 says:

    I am the anomaly. I have a local AM station that I enjoy and one FM station that I like as well. These are on my presets and I listen a lot. I am (have become) an AM’er. I find the FM band full of music that mystifies me other than the Jazz station (that is probably all on tape). I like almost every kind of music, but I find I cannot abide the liberal leftist pabulum that passes for “news” or “commentary” these days, so I avoid a lot of the music and talk radio stuff that fills the air these days.

  3. Parrott says:

    They use to have live shows in the evenings, on WBT. Now its Dave Ramsey reruns. Hell that is as bad as local cumulus.
    I have a hard time picking it up WBT anymore, until really late. I blame my electric meter on the house. I have to drive the Jeep to the top of the local hill and can sometimes pick it up real good. Dave Ramsey is annoying, family is on debt snowball and says, lets get rid of the family cat, that will help ! Yeah throw it out on the street and we can keep the cell phone.
    effing cornballs!
    If they are so on the edge that the ‘cat’ will tip them over, maybe they ought to look in the mirror and quit eating carbohydrates and mcNuggetts . dam fools.
    I wasn’t even wanting to listen to Ramsey!

    To make matters worse FCC chairman Ajit Pai, hell, he is a former Verizon lawyer.
    That’s double negative. Idiots every where

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