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In 1959 I was lucky enough to be on duty at an FM station that was doing an experiment in co-operation with a separately owned AM station. The AM station ran the announcer/host and sent the left channel of a stereo record. The FM station where I worked carried the right channel from the stereo record. That was the first radio stereo, as FM stereo had not yet been introduced. In fact, stereo LPs were only a few years old.
Stereo FM followed about a year later and had a large part in wide popular acceptance of FM radio by the mass public. Later on, as the ad money was moving away from AM, stereo AM was an attempt to balance the game, but flopped, partly because there were several incompatible systems and the technology was “left to the market place.”
In all that time I was evolving as an opinion center and came to the conclusion that the human voice was a monaural instrument, and was best suited to a mono medium, typically AM or shortwave radio. The spoken voice sounds less intimate if the room or background acoustics become a distractive element in a stereophonic setting. Therefore my AM stations always will be mono, as I’m big on human speech communication.
But stereo is there for AM stations that wish to add that feature, and in response to RFB’s comment, what about a modification kit so that the existing part 15 transmitters can be rigged for stereo by the interested owner? I would think that the market for low power AM stereo transmitters is a minority market, and that the manufacturers would take a loss by developing and stocking a stereo transmitter, but a project diagram is an interesting idea.
Just as we developed a 3-stage shortwave transmitter right here on the website (Big Talker), the design engineers, RFB being very much a design engineer who might well lead the effort, could invent a set of instructions for the stereo crowd.