Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


AM Owners: The Next Move Is Yours

What are you doing to ensure your station sounds the best it can?

In February, I wrote a column asking stations and networks to deliver customers to help save AM radio in the dashboards of vehicles. 

Well … congratulations, radio, we did it! Our listeners reached out to elected officials in Washington, D.C., reached out to Ford, and we collectively have helped keep AM radio in vehicle dashboards of its products through at least through 2024. Additionally, Congress is considering legislation that would require AM radio in all vehicles sold in the U.S. 

But now is not the time to stop and celebrate; in fact, our work has just begun. 

We must seriously look at ourselves in the mirror when it comes to the physical plant of our AM stations (me included). Our listeners stepped up to the plate and did their jobs in contacting Ford and other car companies and members of Congress. Now it is our turn to step up and thank those who helped us. 

The author is shown doing an interview with the NewsNation program “Morning in America” about the challenges facing AM radio.

What are you doing to ensure your station sounds the best it can? Long-time maintenance issues you put on the back burner because “It’s just AM” or “We don’t need to spend the money” must stop. We cannot just “accept what we have because we have a full-power FM or translator” any longer. 

For me, this means we will be doing some maintenance this summer after our engineer found some issues with our antenna system after a lightning strike. While they may not be critical to station operation, if I have him address those issues the antenna system would be more efficient and work better. 

He also suggests reviewing our audio chain and if necessary, resetting all the levels, doing it the old-fashioned way with test tones on each channel at the studio.

Now, I could just have the attitude of “Oh, let’s just keep what we have; it’s fine.” Or I could say “Let’s get it done. We will be “getting it done” because we OWE it to the farmers and listeners who depend on our AM broadcast and who stepped up to complain to Ford and Congress. We’ll be taking the time to do the required work to make the AM work at its maximum legal potential so our consumers can have a better listening experience. It would be hypocritical for me to complain about inferior-quality receivers or the lack of FCC enforcement of Part 15 and 18 interference rules when I am not doing all I can to send out a decent signal. 

So … station owners, what will you be doing this summer to get your AM signals “up to snuff?” 

[Read our coverage of the AM radio hearing held on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.]