Probably few knew
that John Battison (“John Battison Dies, Was Father of SBE,” Sept. 12) was a
Royal Air Force Spitfire pilot in the Battle of Britain during World War II.
Those were the dark days of the war, when 966
Allied aircrew were killed or wounded during the summer and autumn of 1940
while saving England from a German invasion. This prompted British Prime
Minister Winston Churchill to declare, “Never was so much owed by so many to so
M.W. Persons & Associates
The author is a
regulator contributor to Radio World.
AM for the Rest of Us
I have enjoyed the recent articles on how to
save AM radio. The commentary from Saul Levine (“AM: Drop the Gloom and Doom,” Sept.
26) got me to the keyboard.
I guess I am one of the rare people in our
beloved business: a single owner of a single AM station. Last summer, I was
evicted from my transmitter site for apartment construction.
Fifteen months later, not one shovel of dirt has
been turned. Meanwhile, I struggle to hold onto what’s left of my investment
with a 125-watt STA. It covers my community adequately enough, but I can’t
license it. There have been some great ideas about how to save our medium. But
for many like me, the costs are prohibitive.
Mr. Levine’s suggestion to drop the doom and gloom is
wonderful. I believe in AM, too. I like his idea of buying the best equipment
to get the best sound possible with the strongest signal, too.
But most of us aren’t in Los Angeles. That doesn’t work
for us. It is very hard to generate sales with a standalone AM in a very
small market. (In my market, 12 of the 14 stations are owned by
two corporations, which take most of the money.)
Having owned a station for nearly 15 years has
been a dream come true for someone who started out in high school as a weekend
jock at the top 40 station. As long as my STA keeps getting renewed, there
is hope that a financial solution will present itself.
There are plenty of options; 250 watts,
non-directional is the best and cheapest. But even that is currently out of
I know there are some who will say that people
like me who struggle to survive should just quietly go dark and help clear the
dial. And maybe they are right. I believe that the business will be greatly
harmed when the little, local guy like me is gone. I hope to still be on
the air, when that AM solution is finally found.
to Be Saved
I no longer lose
sleep over the proposals to save AM coming from the NAB. Some years ago, they
embraced Eureka Digital Radio, then quickly dropped it. Then came the iBiquity
Radio system that granted more channels to the FMs and a mediocre system to the
AM. Now they are playing with all-digital on AM.
Can they tell me how I am going to keep my clients if I go
all-digital on my AM and there are no radios to listen to it? I had an FM when
FM was not cool, so believe me: I know how it is.
Why not support the proposal to expand the FM band into TV
Channels 5 and 6?
There are 143 TV stations of all sorts on
Channel 6. Can we sacrifice 4,754 AM stations and thousands of jobs for 143 TV
stations? Why not relocate those stations on Channel 6 to the additional
channels granted to TV? Some TV stations don’t even use those channels.
How about giving
the AMs one FM HD channel? There are enough FM stations in my market to give
every AM station an FM HD channel. Some FM stations are not using their HD
In the old days, they use to call that
“efficient use of the spectrum.” It must be a transmission mode that allows
transition. Those who think that it is a programming problem with AM need to come
to Florida and try listening to 50 kW AMs during summer thunderstorms. You will
tune out to FM or satellite so fast you will not be able to see your finger
punch the radio button. Try listening to AM next to a computer or in a building
full of computers.
If it is a programming issue, why is the switch of talk
stations to FM occurring? FM and TV were given digital improvements and free
extra channels to generate more revenue. AM built this industry, and it
deserves to be saved.
Making Plans, Out
Just so I have this straight:
The NAB’s got a special committee to chart the
future of AM, but most AM broadcasters aren’t privy to these plans, nor will
they ever be until all constitutive choices are made (“Station Chosen for
All-Digital AM Test,” Oct. 10).
Also, HD will provide the vector for digitalization, which
we should just accept because it is what it is. Most of this from unnamed
Radio World, you can do better than this.
Department of TV and
New York, N.Y.
O, HD Where
The one thing that immediately hits home is how
few HD Radio receivers are available. The ones that are available are rather
pricey and not really portable. (I have yet to see a HD radio in a car.)
However, if you want a radio that does Internet radio, iPod or the like, the
field is wide open, with all manner of price.
Now, granted, there is very little HD Radio in the wilds
of Idaho, but one would think that someone would offer such a beast. Even
online, the pickings are slim and carry a really hefty price tag. Stores like
Best Buy and Wal-Mart say they have HD Radios. Not in my neighborhood.
I do work for a public radio network, and they run HD, but
they are talking about turning it off, as there is only a handful of people
using it. There just doesn’t seem to be any interest in what is being offered.
I have read some interesting comments regarding HD Radio,
especially since the passing of Leonard Kahn. There is a real buzz, especially
when DRM is brought up, as it applies to AM and shortwave broadcasting.
We must search onward for the answers that will
keep radio broadcasting viable and healthy. It can be done.
Twin Falls, Idaho