AM Analog Sunset? What Do You Think?

One of the news threads at last week’s NAB Show was Glynn Walden’s suggestion to “sunset” analog AM in favor of all-digital transmission.

A sampling of reader reactions:

“This sounds good, as long as the system employed is DRM and NOT IBOC.”

“In my opinion, this is a suicide mission to make AM all-digital.”

“In my experience, a good AM stereo station does very well.”

“The problem is the band not the mode. If the band was digital only, the noise would shrink the coverage areas. I don’t care if the TV stations don’t like losing Channel 5 and 6, we need the band for audio broadcast.”

“This might as well be a ‘sunset the AM band’ proposal.”

“This sounds like a way for large broadcasters to trump small broadcasters. If the FCC really wants to help, they should make FM translators available to existing AM stations, and those translators should receive primary status.”

“Here we go again. Glynn has overseen the hybrid mode at night, making high-power night signal listening nearly impossible.”

“The FCC made adoption voluntary precisely because of the proprietary nature of HD Radio. How will the FCC walk back from that?”

What do you think about the possibility of a “date certain” shutoff of analog AM radio? Email, attention Letter to the Editor.
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Comment List:

"I Don't Think So Tim" -no forced analog sunset of analog AM. AM skywave and 50KW clear channel stations are a godsend in disasters, and a matter of national security to maintain clear channel ANALOG AM radio stations; in fact, I believe that the other stations on the clears should move out and clears go up to 500KW-750KW with analog 10KHz stereo audio - no digital at all. Digital on TV5/TV6 only
By Al Boreland on 4/18/2013
DRM+ would allow any broadcaster to transmit in surround sound. DRM+ should be alocated 48 - 68 MHz which includes analog ch 1 & 2 which are unsuitable for DTV. This gives 201 ch which is more tha AM & FM combined. Transmitters on a single site can be on 100 kHz wide consecutive ch. at the same high power. Try the no compromise pure digital approach. Leave AM/FM where it is until shutdown in 10 yr
By Alanh on 4/16/2013
With the USA the champions of the free market economy, why not have a level playing field where all broadcasters (AM and FM) are on the same band with the same quality. This can be "financed" as it has in Australia by a ban on new licencees for 6 years. This will allow time for the audience to build up. Add to this an analog radio shutdown.
By Alanh on 4/16/2013
In my opinion, it is DIGITAL that needs to be sunset for AM, not analogue. The digital mode has been a failed attempt to make AM "viable", according to its proponents. Instead, all it has done is placed an increased financial burden on the station owners, and has provided nearly no return for the investment. The audio quality of digital AM is much worse than a well-processed analogue AM station. Back in the 1990's we had the C-Quam AM stereo system, and the quality of that audio was twice as good as the current digital AM stations. Further, digital AM does not work over skywave, whereas analogue AM works perfectly. And when you spend hours on the road a night, driving through parts of the country that do not have a reliable FM signal, the only stations you can here are AM stations, sometimes thousands of miles away!
By Ed Dulaney on 4/16/2013

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