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.