Martin Stabbert — don’t call him Marty — said his company was ready to go on at night on Sept. 14, the first date AM IBOC nighttime operation was allowed.
In calls and a memo prior to that, he told his chief engineers, “…if your plants are ready to run at night, please do. BUT – let’s monitor the results carefully. To the extent we end up with substantial IX that we can ourselves cure, we will…”
He told me, “I also said if we find issues, or are not 100% satisfied with the performance we will address that at the appropriate time.”
It took some time to get feedback. “I would imagine some people listening the first couple of nights wondered what was going on but didn’t call the station, especially since the (nighttime) launch was over a weekend.”
Some stations had no complaints, he said, and roughly the same number did.
Listeners who have complained say they hear hiss and adjacent-channel stations say they hear noise on the channel, he said, adding that most of the impacted adjacents are stations Citadel owns.
Citadel inherited plants with equipment from various manufacturers in its Disney/ABC acquisition (see related story).
He also says the issues with AM at night do not point to a specific manufacturer’s HD-R transmission equipment, confirming that Citadel plants use various types of gear from companies including Harris, BE and Nautel.
He could not give an exact dollar figure for how much Citadel and ABC/Disney combined have spent on converting their AMs, but estimates it’s in excess of $1 million.