Readers responded to Jon Yinger’s “Where Is Terrestrial Radio Going?”
AM for Hams
I just read the column by Jon Yinger on the future of terrestrial radio.
I would venture that AM broadcasting is on its last legs and will be sunset by the FCC in 10 years. Most AM stations will be moved to a new band or offered a new opportunity for an HD FM channel as stated by Mr. Yinger. Most of the AM band will be given to amateur radio operators with some channels left for broadcasters who want to stay on the band. The idea of digital broadcasting on AM is a good idea, but I think it’s time has come and gone. It should have been done a long time ago.
I am not sure about FM analog broadcasting as there are a huge number of listeners who find nothing wrong with the medium. It is a good workhorse as it sounds good and is reliable. I can’t see why analog needs to be eliminated. However, there should be opportunities for FM broadcasters to go fully digital if they want to and the listener market calls for it.
There is a place for OTA radio broadcasting as the internet can be fickle at times and is not quite reliable. Witness the recent outage at Google where many services were taken off-line suddenly and with no explanation.
With all the changes proposed by Mr. Yinger, the only thing needed is a well thought-out media campaign explaining to the public the changes that are to occur and why it will be beneficial to all listeners. Without buy-in from the listeners, all the wonderful changes talked about might not happened and even be fought against.
Dan Ramos, Joshua Tree, Calif.
The article from Jonathan Yinger was a quick, easy, sensible read. The future of broadcast radio may appear murky but should “shake itself out” over the next 20 years. The recent downsizing in several markets by at least one major company due to financial (or other) reasons has showed that the great consolidation experiment needs to be reworked a little. Radio has always been a business where the “most creative” seem to win.
But technically there needs to be more work too. As Jon pointed out FM digital should treat HD2, HD3 channels as equals to the HD1 channel but in more ways than one. I was asked in the early planning stages of HD how the stations should be displayed. When told about the HD1, etc., I protested. It was a silly protest as we can see today, but if radios were seeking out separate “ands” for the new signals it might make more sense. The other issue is the power levels of HD1, HD2 and HD3 etc. It’s very frustrating to travel down the road and either have the receiver quality change — or the HD2 signal disappear when you know you’re still in range of the main analog signal.
A lot more research can be done to help fix broadcasting — but the question remains as to whether the commission is really interested. Jonathan’s fear that the issues may never be resolved are all too evident and this aspect of his look into the future might be the most accurate.
Thanks for the great publication!
Dave Mason, Programmer/Air Talent, San Diego