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Letters: Remembering Richard Mertz

Also, AM options

Remembering Richard Mertz

It was with great sadness that the WUKY(FM) family learned of the death of Richard Mertz (Nov. 20 issue). His advice and counsel over the years have been invaluable to us, and he will be sorely missed.

Several years ago, Richard helped us design and build our new transmitter plant, including our first-ever HD Radio transmission system.

I’ll never forget one blustery winter day when Richard was at the transmitter site doing final proofs on the system with our chief engineer, Gordon Brandenburg. Suddenly, Gordon’s cell phone rang. It was the tower owner, calling to relay a complaint from the crotchety engineer at another station whose antenna was right below ours on the tower. The engineer claimed our new transmission line had come loose and was flapping around and damaging his antenna.

Richard grabbed his trusty digital camera with a telephoto lens, flung open the door of the transmitter shack and snapped a series of photos of our firmly secured transmission line. The photos were immediately emailed to the tower owner, and we never heard another word from that engineer — not on that subject at least!

That’s the kind of man Richard was: Always prepared to help and to resolve problems, even imaginary ones, quickly and definitively.

Tom Godell
General Manager
Lexington, Ky.

Only So Many Options for AM

Regarding “AM Efforts Should Include Tech Solutions” by Paul Thurst (Nov. 6), I believe C.E. Thurst has competently zeroed in on the subject of AM broadcast future: There are limited solutions to “saving” the AM spectrum and modulation methods.

Let’s be perfectly candid: Maintaining an AM station is expensive due to aging towers, feed lines, transmitters and pattern proofing. The FCC NPRM offers no lasting solutions.

Additionally, engineers who are experienced in AM station maintenance are in very short supply. Next, listeners are, in my opinion, migrating away from AM to other modes of program content delivery.

The AM spectrum is being hammered with manmade noise, and there appears to be no technical/engineering solution. Again, in my opinion, AM IBOC, which is proprietary, is not going to save the AM band. DRM can be tested, but America has a reluctance to adopt European formats.

Receiver manufacturers are not going to switch to adding a new format to in-dash electronics after the big push to IBOC (no big success in my opinion).

The front-page story in the Nov. 6 Radio World, “Brazil Broadcasters Push AM Migration,” says it all.

Lastly, slim profit margins for AM stations do not encourage station owners and managers to support a fading and expensive radio modulation-dependent carrier level technology.

Ross F. du Clair
Transmitter Engineer
EMF Broadcasting (K-LOVE & AIR1)
Rocklin, Calif.