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Stop Making Antiquated Decisions

I read the online story “Norway Sets 2017 Sunset for Analog FM.”

Not everything is better when it is digital.

Digital has to be received perfectly or else it is not there. In an emergency situation, when radio usually shines, isn’t it better to hear a scratchy AM or FM that fades, than no signal at all?

The ATSC system for over-the-air TV leaves much to be desired. I am not going to get into the politics that forced this system down our throats, but suffice it to say it’s “so good” the FCC wants to take OTA signals off the air and put their programming on satellite and cable, thereby freeing up TV bandwidth for wireless applications.

When you force a bad system down the public’s throats — one that requires you to install an outside antenna on your roof, 1950s style — it is bound to fail. Is HD Radio doing any better? It has been just about abandoned by AM stations and, depending upon where you live, is plagued by reception problems.

Digital transmission OTA works; it just seems we constantly pick the wrong systems — usually chosen by bean counters or lawyers.

There are digital systems that work but we never seem to choose them. Instead, we choose methods that incorporate old technology with new instead of just replacing it.

Digital technology blows the doors off of analog in some instances. Unfortunately transmission isn’t one of them. Sure, you can squeeze more signals into a sliver of bandwidth, but what is your gain if the listener can’t hear it?

This isn’t the ’50s,’90s or even the ’20s anymore. Let’s stop making antiquated decisions that will fail miserably like ATSC and HD Radio eventually will. There are far too many other entertainment choices out there today, and radio is already having a problem getting younger listeners.

Mike Hemeon, CPBE
Tinton Falls, N.J.