Digital Delight, or Death of Distant Listening?

The new rules authorizing IBOC are now effective, which means the cap on airing AM digital at night has come off.
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The new rules authorizing IBOC are now effective, which means the cap on airing AM digital at night has come off.

Even some non-technical radio trade publications have recently discovered the story, which has been dominating engineer talk for months, if not longer. (They must be reading RW.)

Various statistics put the number of AMs on the air with IBOC at 225 to 250. The most prominent vocal advocate recently has been Tom Ray, VP and DOE for Buckley Broadcasting and WOR(AM) in New York.

He says, “The apocalypse has been anticlimactic ... thus far.” His station at 710 kHz turned IBOC on at 12:01 a.m.

Ray said he “had one listener complaint, from Maryland, trying to listen to WLW far outside their nighttime interference-free zone,” Ray e-mailed to RW this morning. “So he’s not going to listen to us any longer. Oh, well. Wait ... he doesn’t count in the N.Y. book.”

He cited postings in online listservs from DXers saying they had not experienced big problems, and noted a comment from an early-morning listener closer to home, “a Metro Traffic reporter in the N.Y. area who goes to work at 4 a.m. in a building that overlooks our site — he has about 1/2 Volt from WOR in his parking lot, along with numerous other AM signals, for a cumulative total of around 2-3 Volts of RF — that radio of his should have been smoking and the overloaded front end was most likely generating spurs like crazy. He has the Hyundai factory installed HD Radio.”

Ray quotes the Metro reporter as writing: “Sitting in our parking lot here at Shadow Rutherford, looking at your towers, I could copy the Canadian station on 690 (broadcasting in French) with only slight hiss from WOR and, with a slightly stronger signal, Canada would have been in the clear.”

What will be the impact on the AM band at night? Who has flipped the switch, and what effect did it have? Radio World wants to hear about what you’re hearing on the dial. E-mail to radioworld@imaspub.com.

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