I second Philip E. Galasso’s Guest Commentary regarding the expansion of the FM band to include the existing AM stations and to help phase out translators and other air traffic that has cluttered our airwaves with adjacent-channel hash and on-channel interference.
Every point he made was salient and in my view necessary to the overall health of radio worldwide as well as in the United States.
I too see no reason to convert a newly expanded FM band into a digital service. Things are complicated as it is, and analog technology readily exists in many small markets, such as ours, for the listeners to tune in.
Many rural AM stations such as ours would benefit greatly from the new FM service. I would like to see this service as an analog one, though, until we can get the bugs worked out of digital broadcasting.
In my opinion analog FM broadcast technology isn’t broken, but it definitely is overcrowded, one reason a few have been pushing for digital IBOC. I believe once the expanded band is allowed to “come into its own,” the need and push for IBOC will be considerably diminished and perhaps could become a moot point.
No small station in unrated markets can afford the ridiculous licensing fees imposed by digital broadcast license holders anyway. If you want to see local service disappear entirely, just make digital broadcasting mandatory and you’ll see local radio dry up like a raisin. Heaven help us if AM is forced to use IBOC digital broadcasting.
I believe, like many of your readers, that from an engineering standpoint it’s a disaster waiting to happen if it is purveyed onto the broadcasters and the public. Getting receivers that are of high quality for any existing radio band is hard enough; digital receivers in our neck of the woods simply do not exist.
Analog is just fine as it is. Just get the band uncrowded and rescue AM from the sea of unrelenting man-made noise caused by computers, dimmer switches, cell phones, CD players, poorly balanced power lines, amongst others.
Thank you, Philip, for outlining some of the concerns that I have for our business, where engineering and ease of use for the public are concerned.
Tawas City, Mich.