Spring Arbs Shockers

Aaron Read readaaron@friedbagels.com
Fri May 26 11:16:59 EDT 2006

Steve West stevewest106@hotmail.com
Fri May 26 08:39:15 EDT 2006
Am I alone in thinking that the day is coming when the mass surrenders 
of AM broadcasters begins, and stations simply go dark because NO format 
works on signals which are much better covered on FM?  Off topic for a 
second, had AM radio started broadcasting and receivers available of HD 
radio 10 years ago... it might have saved the band, but I really think 
AM's days are numbered, with a few notable exceptions in the form of the 
nation's WBZ's, WFAN's and so on.


It's a valid theory but I think you dismiss HD Radio too quickly.  This 
is what a lot of AM station owners are betting on; that HD Radio's 
higher fidelity and inherent stereo (as well as the data services 
aspect) will give enough to the AM band to make it compete on more level 
footing with FM.  Granted it's not a panacea, but I think the idea has 

FWIW, action on the post-sunset operation of IBOC is due soon (this 
summer, I'm told) and the odds are very good that it will be authorized, 
and that a handful (perhaps 5% nationwide) of smaller "shoehorned" AM 
licensees will either be forced to go dark completely or re-relegated to 
daytime only status.   This is not just speculation...I've seen the math 
and it appears to work.   DXing as we know it will completely go away, 
of course...as will reception outside of the protected contours.  But 
the FCC's been telling us for decades that we can't count on either of 

Interestingly, many nighttime and especially many DAYTIME signals will 
get MARKED improvements in coverage from being IBOC.  By which I mean 
that digital is all-or-nothing; if the signal's above the threshold, you 
get the best audio quality IBOC can deliver and it's *consistent*. 
Whereas analog, of course, gets progressively "worse" sounding the lower 
the signal gets; more static, more susceptibility to noise, etc etc etc.

I know the engineer at a local AM who was telling me the results of his 
"drive test" after turning on IBOC and the results were amazing; he 
estimated that their effective coverage area is over 30% bigger for 
listeners using HD Radios.

As for WGBH...ratings matter very much to any non-comm that runs 
underwriting, and WGBH does.  However, if anything you will see less 
classical on their main channel, not more.   Until WCRB announced it was 
going away, the ratings were consistently dropping for WGBH...hence the 
addition of an extra hour of Morning Edition, adding Weekend Edition, 
and, of course, the Open Source experiment.  I suspect they're too far 
down the news/talk road to reverse course and try to go for 
all-classical to grab WCRB's listeners.  Which I doubt they would 
anyway...WGBH and WCRB play fairly different subgenres of classical, 
don't they?


Aaron Read
Boston, MA 02176

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