AM Revitalization? Clay's Dramatic Suggestion
Clay Freinwald, CPBE, has been active in radio broadcasting for more
than 50 years. Responding to Radio World’s coverage of the AM
debate, he offers his own suggestions. Freinwald
is a past recipient of Radio World’s Excellence in Engineering Award,
of the year from the Washington State Association of Broadcasters and twice
winner of SBE’s Engineer of the Year award.
AM’s technology and spectrum have served its purpose and move on.
Here is what
I would do if I were given the authority to make all the changes I
1 – Open up the spectrum immediately below the existing FM
band (TV Channels 5 and 6 have been suggested) for aural broadcasting.
2 – Enact an all-channel radio rule that would require all
receivers manufactured be capable of receiving the existing 88–108
MHz as well
as the new expanded band (think expanded band AM radios or the all-channel TV
3 – Create an allocation scheme that would ensure
that all existing AM stations would have a level playing field and be treated
4 – Set a date-certain for the process to
5 – Accept applications for the new band for one
4 – Grant construction permits with a required
two-year period to construct.
5 – Require simulcast
operation for a period of 10 years.
6 – Sunset the existing
AM band at the end of the 13th year.
– Do not grant more FM translators to AMs; all this does is clutter
up the existing FM band, and there is not enough spectrum for every AM to have
– Perhaps require that all new-band
stations operate hybrid mode until year 13 when analog FM could be turned
– Admit that AM HD and AM stereo are failures and eliminate
any further use of HD Radio on the existing AM band.
Freinwald is employed
by Washington State University and has his own business servicing clients in
the Seattle area. He has worked in management and staff engineering for
Entercom in Seattle, Tribune Communications (Tacoma), KMO(AM) and KCPQ(TV).
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