Total posts : 45366
AM is dead? The hell you say. I work at a 5000 watt commercial AM station — been there for 27 years now. Our sales continue to increase, listenershp continues to grow, and we’re a long way from being dead. of course we do go out of our way to serve our community and provide actual live local programming. Heck we just installed a brand new transmimtter 18 months ago. Long way from dead. The reports of AM radios death is somewhat exaggerated.
In addition my Part 15 AM has been on nearly 2 years now. Zero downtime. Listenership continues to grow. I’m embarassed to tell you what revenues generated are but I will probably top $20,000 for 2015. My station reaches out 7100 feet solid into car and portable transistor radios, further out on the nearby lake chock full of watersports enthusiasts and fishermen. I do have the advantage of only a couple other AM stations in the area (including the one I work for) and being in the boonnies nearly zero man made interference.
No, sorry to report, AM is not dead.
“Require stations logs” Umm, this went out with button shoes and hand well pumps. At my commercial station we participate in a moc FCC inspection every 3 years. They don’t even look at transmitter logs anymore. The rule is, basically, that if they have a complaint of find you out of compliance you have to prove you’re not. Most modern stations now have a system where when a reading gets out of tolerance (too much plate voltage, too much plate current, too much antenna current, silence, etc…) there is an alarm, and the system is designed to telephone someone for help. We take transmitter readings on each shift just because I’m in charge and I’m old school, but the FCC doesn’t care. Our alarm system first calls the station, then me, then the PD, then the owner, then moves on to cell numbers and other employees. Gonna require EAS? Gonna require Equal Opportunity? that’s a HUGE PITA the stations. We have to PROVE that we have gone above and beyond to find minorities to work for us. OK, up here, there might be 4 black people in the area. We have to prove that we tried to recruit them. The paperwork for that is a huge issue. Gonna file quarterly needs and issues?
If you want a snowballs chance in hell of getting the rules changed to allow more powerful community broadcasting, one huge thing must be accomplished first. There MUST be a REAL, national organization of Part 15 broadcasters. A group that pays dues, has at least a quarterly publication, an FCC lawyer on board in Washington, and someone who can lobby the FCC. The ALPB is a nice start, but when you get down to it, it’s not going to pass muster as an actual legal organization of members. Get 90% of the Part 15 guys to join, including those who are on the “other” site and present a united effort. “1870 members of the ALPB (or whatever) petition the FCC for low power community broadcasting” is a heck of a better headline than “a few radio buffs get together to change the rules” You will immediatly face backlash from the NAB and RAB. OH, and how many of you cats are actually paying music licensing for your Part 15? Oh, we argue back and forth about it, but if your intention is for others to hear, you MUST. and you can be darn sure you’ll have to with any more power, and pay more than you have to now.
ALso we need to quit talking about coverage and figuring it based on your car radio. Every car is different, and few people sit in their cars and listen to the radio. If they’re driving they’re going to be in your signal for a very short time. Not a valid measuring stick.
Measure actual field strength. Yes, I know, it takes an expensive meter. I have two of them. Then you at least have a real, repeateable, accurate measure of what you’re putting out.
Anyway, there’s my random brain dump.
Tim in Bovey