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RE: Pohistorynow.com on clear channels

>Hakim Madjid wrote:
>Of course the orginal rationale for having clear channel stations has long
>since disappeared.

        Skipping over the word "original" because times certainly change, I
disagree somewhat on this. The FCC obviously has devalued the clear-channel
idea as much as has been possible to get away with politically and would
cut down the effective range even more if it could, IMO. And, I'm a
pessimist on this, figuring there will be further cutbacks.

        But, IMO, these stations still serve a purpose and have a market
niche, at least for now. The ground conductivity in New England is so bad
that WBZ, even DA to the west, puts out a groundwave signal that's not that
much farther in range than just about any old full-power FM. But in most of
the country a Class A AM delivers a decent groundwave that a non-radio geek
would listen to  out to 100-200 miles.

        It's not a coincidence that in most markets with a Class A
station(s) it's the last station(s) standing in terms of full service type
formats, whateve rthey get called now, and independent news gathering.
They're also likely to have the best backup facilities in case of disaster.
And there should be room for this service on the band because it offers
opportunities to hear from distant cities -- IMO, a better use of the
spectrum that once supposedly was a public resource than jamming up the
channel with 10 stations that have interference-free nighttime contours of
about 10 miles and run the same whatever from the satellite that you can
hear all up and down the dial already.

        The interference margins already have been reduced so far that the
protection the Class A stations get now -- and the extra groundwave
protection may be most important -- is really functioning as just enough
protection to give them a very good signal in their home metro markets. If
you take your basic full-power FM signal as the yardstick, in most major
markets the only AM station with an equal or better signal, if any, is a
Class A station. The Class B stations, especially the better 5 kW
"regional" assignments from the old Class III-A, mostly do not put a good
signal on all of their metro areas, because of more interference, and
because the metro areas have gone much farther out of the city since the
FRC/FCC decided 5 kW was the standard for regional signal back around 1930.
Mostly, the U.S. doesn't use MW for the one thing it does better than FM,
go long distances.

        We all debate the many reasons the AM audience keeps shrinking, and
all this about the signals is far from the only reason. But if MW in the
U.S. was made up, let's say, of a lot fewer stations running high power
like 100 kW or 250 kW, the playing field would be different. Hell, you'd
have people using AM because they're sick and tired of the FM signals going
bad everytime they drive behind a large building or a small hill :)

        My $0.02, plus hyper inflation. Time to get back to my buggy-whip
improvement project down in the basement . . .


 Have you patronized the skywave signal of an AM Class A station today?