AM stereo WLYN

Eli Polonsky
Thu May 25 03:34:20 EDT 2006

--- Roger Kolakowski <> wrote:

> Any suggestion on receivers? Who won the AM Stereo wars?
> C-Quam?

Yes, sometime around the early 1990's the FCC quietly
decided that C-Quam would be the U.S. standard for AM
stereo. They waited until what interest there was in AM
stereo in the 1980's was already practically dead.

The manufacturers weren't willing to make many receivers
until a standard was agreed on, and by then, many of the
stations that had tried broadcasting music in AM stereo
had already given up (and gone to talk, etc... formats).
By that time, very few decided that it was worth trying
music again in AM stereo (WJIB here being an exception).

I recall the reason I didn't buy an aftermarket AM stereo
car receiver back in the 80's was that companies such as
Sony, Pioneer and Kenwood were charging almost $100 more
for the units that otherwise had the same FM stereo and
cassette deck as the AM mono models, all for an AM stereo
chip that probably cost about $2 to manufacture. No small
wonder people weren't buying those. I bought my Sony AM
stereo car deck used many years later on eBay.

I did have a Sony AM stereo Walkman and a Radio Shack AM
stereo add-on home tuner back then. I was working at an
AM stereo station (1150 when it was oldies WMEX) and I'm
glad I had the Radio Shack tuner so that my shows could be
recorded at home in AM stereo. The tapes still sound quite

Some speculate that the delay and the bad marketing of AM
stereo was deliberate on the part of certain interests.
I've heard cynical stories ranging from the competition
wars of the different manufacturers to large FM station
owners who allegedly didn't want stereo competition for
their music formats on the AM dial. It's all become moot
now anyway since analog AM stereo is not compatible with
IBOC HD digital, which is the way things are going. That
was the final nail in the AM stereo coffin.

Anyway, as for available C-Quam AM stereo receivers, very
few are still being currently manufactured now in the U.S. is still claiming to offer three
Sony Japan analog AM stereo radios, the SRF-A300 portable
and SRF-AX51V, SRF-AX15 Walkmans, though these apparently
don't have the wideband mode that was available on some of
the old U.S. Models.

A company called Fanfare still claims to sell this very
expensive high-end home tuner with wideband C-Quam AM
stereo: <>. There
is also a "homemade" wideband C-Quam AM stereo tuner being
sold here for much less: <>.

Beyond that, you're left with eBay, and ten to twenty-five
year old receivers in various states of wear. At this very
moment there are no actual AM stereo receivers listed, but
they pop up fairly often, usually Sony Walkmans, the Radio
Shack TM-152 add-on analog tuner, and the MCS-3050 digital
tuner are the most common. Enter "AM stereo" in quotes and
ignore any listings that don't specify C-Quam or AM stereo
distinct from "FM/AM stereo", which isn't really AM stereo.
It isn't intentional deception, just vague terminology.


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