Ellingson's Takeaway on AM Radio


Gary L. Ellingson is director of engineering for Northwestern Media. He wrote the following, which we share to invite reader comment.

Having just returned from the NAB Show, its many presentations, vendor visits and sidebar conversations, I have pieced together a thread that seems to reflect a trend. I am very interested in putting this out into a forum that can test the validity of my observations. In many ways I hope the observations to be proven inaccurate. In other ways it seems to corroborate much of the speculation that has been swirling around AM revitalization.

Here is the thread:

-Some sort of AM revitalization package will soon materialize including many of the proposals that would allow reduced-efficiency AM radiators;

-These proposals will likely result in an already-compromised receiving medium to be further degraded;

-This will incentivize AM licensees to accept offers to surrender their AM license and move to the FM band;

-This will make an already crowded FM band even more crowded;

-To mitigate the over-crowding the allocation table will be revised, a digital-only sunset will be set and all allocations reduced by –20 dBc; this will level the playing field and allow even more stations (services) to be licensed;

-This will move all broadcast operations into a single band with a uniform digital platform;

-The current AM band can then be vacated.

I am wondering if anyone else came away from NAB with these observations.

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