Commentary: Nothing Less Than 100 Watts, Please

Edward P. De La Hunt
These comments were sent to the Federal Communications Commission relative to Docket 13-249, “Revitalization of the AM Radio Service.” Edward P. De La Hunt Sr. is owner of De La Hunt Broadcasting. The De La Hunt family owns nine stations in northern and central Minnesota, including KPRM(AM) in Park Rapids and three other AMs.

I would like to comment on the proposed rulemakings.

I have no problem with exclusivity of translators for AM applications; however, in the same vein, I would propose that no AM radio station, regardless of its class, should operate at any time with less than 100 watts. The 6/10/13 20-watt post-sunset powers are absolutely ridiculous.

Broadcast on the AM band should serve its local community and with some stations operating with 3 watts, all that has to happen is someone in the neighborhood turns on a fluorescent light, and it’s all over. With 100 watts, at least there will be some chance of local service being provided. Skywave interference will increase somewhat, but the increase in local service will far outweigh the interference created.

With regard to modification of AM antenna efficiencies, this would be an absolute step back to the dark ages. If anything, we should be striving to increase antenna efficiencies by improving the radiation, lowering the angle of radiation, which in itself will improve nighttime service and lower nighttime interference.

Nighttime and daytime coverage standards could be relaxed and possibly adjusted to the point where the local service becomes the first choice in making any judgments on individual cases but not on an overall basis.

The wider implementation of modulation dependent carrier level control technologies not only should be further implemented, but should be encouraged, as it not only improves coverage, but helps conserve electrical power.

An additional comment, from myself, is that clear-channel skywave protection should be reduced from 750 miles down to 450 miles, allowing some stations to improve their nighttime coverage.

Also, IBOC should be abolished, as it does nothing but destroy nighttime AM service to stations that are adjacent to an IBOC station. It is even a daytime problem for adjacent stations when the IBOC station is high power.

In addition, the FCC should return to enforcement of incidental radiation and encourage radio manufacturers to include digital noise blankers in their radios.

Comment on this or any article. Write to, attention Letter to the Editor.

Want to read more stories like this? Sign up for your free Radio World NewsBytes newsletter here.

Rating People: 10   Average Rating:     
Comment List:

IBOC should indeed be abolished, not only on AM, but FM as well. Encouraging widespread industry adoption of C-QUAM to support AM-Stereo would help as well.
By David Claussen on 7/22/2014
I live within 2 miles of a station that goes down to 20 watts. It comes in quite well on most radios here, but I totally agree that the power should be upped. This is the best idea I've heard in years. However, it will stop my jokes about the station using old series-string radio tubes in the final. I mean, how often can you joke about a 50C5?
By Duke & Banner on 7/15/2014
The medium wave band should not be used as a local broadcast band. Increasing the night time power of a station that should not even be on the air at night is destructive to all medium wave stations. Shrinking the protection for "clear-channel" stations to 450 miles will cause more noise and listener rejection of the band.
By Peter Wankerman on 7/12/2014

Post your comment

Your Name:  Required
Your Mail:       Your email will not be published.
Your Site:    

max. 800 characters

Posts are reviewed before publication, typically the next business morning. Radio World encourages multiple viewpoints, though a post will be blocked if it contains abusive language, or is repetitive or spam. Thank you for commenting!