AM stations only on to feed FM translators

RadioInsight Community Forums General Topics Radio Industry Discussion AM stations only on to feed FM translators

This topic contains 31 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of secondchoice secondchoice 10 months, 2 weeks ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 32 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #96108
    Profile photo of Christian
    Christian
    Participant

    There have to be quite a few AM stations that are only on the air in order to feed FM translators.

    I can think of at least two examples in Michigan.
    1530 WYGR Wyoming (500W daytimer) has an FM translator (94.9 W235BN) on a decent height tower. The translator gets out 15-20 miles while the AM struggles to get out 10 miles.

    1450 WKLA Ludington (graveyard) has two FM translators (92.7 W224CA in Ludington and 107.9 W300?? in Manistee [the 107.9 translator apparently signed on very recently, I’m originally from Manistee but I currently go to school in Grand Rapids]). Both translators get out farther than the parent station. In fact, 107.9’s stick is located outside of 1450’s coverage area! I once caught 92.7 in Irons and the trio of stations air Manistee High School sporting events (the full-power sister station in Manistee generally airs Manistee Catholic Central sports)

    #96172
    Profile photo of Michael
    Michael
    Participant

    1490 KHTC Malmstrom AFB, MT (Great Falls area) is on 99.3 K257FL with a Rhythmic Hip Hop/Rap format. Very odd AM format.

    -crainbebo

    #96184
    Profile photo of Warren Hodges Jr
    Warren Hodges Jr
    Participant

    I wonder if as part of its about to be proposed AM improvement plan the FCC will allow AM stations such as these permanently sign off the parent AM station, and use the FM translator as their sole broadcast outlet. The AM station would never be reactivated . Not only would the stations save on their electric bill, but it would help reduce some of the chatter clutter on AM especially at night.
    Apparently this is being discussed as it is mentioned in Scott Fybush’s NERW Extra: Our AM Improvement Filing :

    http://www.fybush.com/nerw-extra-our-am-improvement-filing/

    #96193
    Profile photo of Michael
    Michael
    Participant

    So will this mean AM in the United States goes the way of analog TV soon – just Canada, Mexico and Cuba staying on? I hope not. I’ll be DXing until I hear absolutely nothing on the AM dial!

    -crainbebo

    #96195
    Profile photo of Warren Hodges Jr
    Warren Hodges Jr
    Participant

    So will this mean AM in the United States goes the way of analog TV soon – just Canada, Mexico and Cuba staying on? I hope not. I’ll be DXing until I hear absolutely nothing on the AM dial!

    -crainbebo

    No, not at all. In fact some reduction of clutter from small stations will improve DXing Opportunities . Along with interference from an ever growing number of electronic devices, the fact that there are many more stations on the air at night has made capturing DX station much more difficult than it used to be.

    #96197
    Profile photo of davideduardo
    davideduardo
    Participant

    So will this mean AM in the United States goes the way of analog TV soon – just Canada, Mexico and Cuba staying on? I hope not. I’ll be DXing until I hear absolutely nothing on the AM dial!

    -crainbebo

    Well, Canada has pretty effectively reduced the number of AMs to, it appears, less than half the peak number… with some provinces having no AMs left.

    Mexico is in the process of permanently moving about 85% of it’s AMs to FM, with no new licenses to be granted.

    Cuba’s the exception… they populate the dial to avoid stations from other nations penetrating their territory, and those pests will be around for many years.

    Further south, El Salvador has less than a third the AMs it used to have… economics forced even some big players off the air. Jamaica eliminated AM some years ago. Haiti only has a couple of AMs left, and the Windward Islands has similarly culled the heard and has nearly no AMs left from Trinidad up to the BVI.

    #96201
    Profile photo of davideduardo
    davideduardo
    Participant

    Apparently this is being discussed as it is mentioned in Scott Fybush’s NERW Extra: Our AM Improvement Filing :

    http://www.fybush.com/nerw-extra-our-am-improvement-filing/

    If anyone has an interest in the future of AM, they should read Scott’s filing. I have perused quite a few of the comments that have been filed, and Scott’s is the only one that takes a no-vested-self-interest approach and covers everything from both a historical perspective and a technical one. Particularly of interest is his well-stated position on HD being an impediment while not having generated much interest among broadcasters. It’s not a short read, but well worth it for anyone who cares about AM.

    #96206
    Profile photo of Doug Smith
    Doug Smith
    Participant

    Agreed.

    Looking at specific numbers it looks like Canada hasn’t quite lost half its AM stations but it’s pretty close. 45% of the country’s peak 600 stations are no longer authorized on AM. (that includes both those that went to FM and those that closed altogether)

    There is one place where I would disagree with Scott. He writes:

    In some – perhaps even many – cases, it may be desirable for the overall health of the AM dial to encourage those challenged stations to go silent for good, …

    but then goes on to concur, at least to some degree, with the Commission’s suggestion that principal community coverage rules and antenna efficiency rules be relaxed.

    In my humble opinion the only action that will truly improve the viability of the AM service is to thin out the dial. It would reduce the level of interference faced by the “survivors”, and would in many cases allow power increases and looser patterns that would improve their ability to overcome the greatly increased noise floor.

    IMHO the existing coverage and efficiency rules should be retained. This will encourage those stations that find it economically impossible to comply to shut down — and will leave the “survivors” stronger. There is little point in providing Ashland City its own AM station if that station is not able to reach enough of the county to be economically viable.

    And to directly address the topic of this thread… it might indeed make sense to allow — maybe even in some cases, to *require* — the shutdown of the AM transmitter if FM translators are reaching enough of the AM coverage area.

    Doug Smith W9WI Pleasant View (Nashville), TN
    #96208
    Profile photo of Rimshot
    Rimshot
    Participant

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>Warren Hodges Jr wrote:</div>
    Apparently this is being discussed as it is mentioned in Scott Fybush’s NERW Extra: Our AM Improvement Filing :

    http://www.fybush.com/nerw-extra-our-am-improvement-filing/

    If anyone has an interest in the future of AM, they should read Scott’s filing. I have perused quite a few of the comments that have been filed, and Scott’s is the only one that takes a no-vested-self-interest approach and covers everything from both a historical perspective and a technical one. Particularly of interest is his well-stated position on HD being an impediment while not having generated much interest among broadcasters. It’s not a short read, but well worth it for anyone who cares about AM.

    David – Do you have a link for that article?

    Username @SMITTY | Former Display Names: Stewie and RadioEnginerd -- I got out of commercial radio before it sucked the life out of me.
    #96219
    Profile photo of jaywalker
    Jay Walker
    Participant

    Scott Fybush’s proposals were very well thought out and I agree with all of the technical aspects he brings to the table. My concern of course is the number of translators that are actually available in the real world. With hundreds of translators locked up by satellite fed “national” broadcasters there are in reality very few if any frequencies available in medium and large metro areas. While the “Super Station” concept is fine for cable television, the scarcity of available allocations on the over the air FM broadcast band should have discourage this type of mis-use of the translator service.

    The issue as I see it, regarding such national Satellators, is a complete lack of a local onsite presence and truly serving the “public interest” of the community. In the majority of cases, other than the required EAS interrupt between the downlink receiver and the transmitter input, these types of translator operators are simply rebroadcasting a single source of programming across the nation with no actual involvement with the community they allegedly serve.

    During disaster events these stations provide little more than a NOAA weather re-broadcast or relay information via EAS from the Primary Entry point station already in the community. In most cases there is no means of contacting the alleged translator/station other than a toll free phone number located in a market hundreds or thousands of miles away.

    By evaluating the “public interest” component during the translator license renewal process, such satellite fed translator operations would be compelled to at a minimum have a local studio presence staffed with more than an on-call contract engineer. Preferences for licensing should be granted to the local operator(s) who by simply being local, will have a more vested interest in the community.

    Jay Walker

    After 40+ years "Playing The Hits Border to Border and Coast to Coast", I am blissfully retired enjoying the moldy confines of the Broadcast Bunker here in the Lone Star State of Confusion. I have left the daily Rat-Race to the younger and faster Rats... However I am always ready to tweak your audio processing through my company Competitive Broadcast Audio Services Dallas....PM me for info
    #96237
    Profile photo of Scott Fybush
    Scott Fybush
    Keymaster

    Thanks to David for the kind words about my FCC filing. It’s available here:

    http://www.fybush.com/nerw-extra-our-am-improvement-filing/

    #96248
    Profile photo of Doug Smith
    Doug Smith
    Participant

    The issue as I see it, regarding such national Satellators, is a complete lack of a local onsite presence and truly serving the “public interest” of the community. In the majority of cases, other than the required EAS interrupt between the downlink receiver and the transmitter input, these types of translator operators are simply rebroadcasting a single source of programming across the nation with no actual involvement with the community they allegedly serve.

    During disaster events these stations provide little more than a NOAA weather re-broadcast or relay information via EAS from the Primary Entry point station already in the community. In most cases there is no means of contacting the alleged translator/station other than a toll free phone number located in a market hundreds or thousands of miles away.

    Peripheral point, but are there satellators that run EAS for their transmitter sites? My one experience with an EAS alert on a satellite-fed translator was that it carried alerts for the location of the primary station, not the translator. (a satellator in Meridian, Mississippi carrying a NWS severe weather warning for Marin Co., California…)

    Now, that was a translator. I’m sure things are different at full-license stations. As you suggest, that’s not a whole lot better:)

    Doug Smith W9WI Pleasant View (Nashville), TN
    #96479
    Profile photo of Warren Hodges Jr
    Warren Hodges Jr
    Participant

    One thing the FCC could do to thin out the AM dial is end STA-silent abuse. Stations unable to stay on the air would get one shot of one year to attempt to get the station back on the air ; rather than the seemingly endless cycle of returning to the air for a month (or less) once a year, just to keep the license alive.

    #96486
    Profile photo of vchimpanzee
    vchimpanzee
    Participant

    Well, Canada has pretty effectively reduced the number of AMs to, it appears, less than half the peak number… with some provinces having no AMs left.

    Canada is one place where AM ought to work. Some of those areas a long way from the cities couldn’t possibly support stations that cover the area. Except for AM stations at night.

    #96487
    Profile photo of davideduardo
    davideduardo
    Participant

    Canada is one place where AM ought to work. Some of those areas a long way from the cities couldn’t possibly support stations that cover the area. Except for AM stations at night.

    Of course, in Canada, just as in the US or other nations in the region, listening at night is quite reduced compared to the daylight hours. That’s when most folks watch TV, and radio listening falls to about a third of the daytime levels.

    Long before it was allowed or practiced in the US, Canada had a rich tradition of simulcast repeaters and low power relay transmitters, both for commercial stations and for the CBS. This allowed “city” stations to cover areas or relatively light population density without local studios or complicated Public File and ascertainment requirements.

    The FCC’s long outdated localism philosophy, based on “a station in every pot”… er, town, with “local” service did not allow the creation of regional simulcast networks and systems of repeaters. Canada, in that sense, had greater vision.

    In Mexico, where the US model was significantly duplicated, AM has declined so badly that their congress declared the band “econcomically not viable”.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 32 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.