Doug Lung /
04.15.2013 10:50 AM
FCC Considering AM All-Digital Transition?
Commissioner Pai addresses AM band revitalization in NAB address
While I usually leave AM/FM news to Radio World, the opening remarks of Commissioner Ajit Pai at the NAB Show's AM Band Revitalization Panel caught my attention.

One reason is that Commissioner Pai offered, as an option, transitioning the AM broadcast band to digital.”

Pai asked, “If we move to digital AM, how should that transition be structured? How long will it take? Will the FCC need to impose an analog sunset date, just as Congress did for the DTV transition? What impact would a digital transition have on smaller AM broadcasters?”

The same questions come up when TV broadcasters discuss the transition from single-carrier VSB ATSC A/53 transmission to what will almost certainly be an incompatible multicarrier COFDM transmission method under ATSC 3.0.

Considering the huge installed base of AM receivers in car radios and portable and tabletop radios, such a transition could be more difficult than changing the off-air television standard.

Whatever solution AM broadcasters and the FCC come up with, I hope it will continue to support long distance sky wave reception. I've listened to the KNX and KCBS AM signals up and down the west coast and even in Hawaii (after dark). I'm sure others have similar stories listening to distant AM stations in other locations. While much of the programming on AM radio is now syndicated content--after dark I've heard the same sports talk program all over the band, there are AM stations that provide a unique and valuable service, sometimes to a small community, sometimes to half the country.

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Posted by: Anonymous
Tue, 04-16-2013 02:34 AM Report Comment
Again, if you want to save AM radio, it's like Real Estate: It's Programming, Programming, Programming. When the entire band is dedicated to please angry elderly conservatives, you can't expect to attract a larger audience. Kids these days are listening to the awful audio from youtube. Have you ever heard how bad some of that audio really is? But, have you ever heard any of them complain about the audio quality? NO! Because, it's Programming, Programming, Programming. Digital AM will cut it's own throat, by cutting off what few listeners they still have. Elderly men aren't going to fork over money so their 1958 Philco will continue to work. They'll just blame it on the gove'ment.

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