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AM Radio fading into history
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Old 14-11-2023, 19:42   #76
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Re: AM Radio fading into history

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Originally Posted by Rillington View Post
Iirc Global now only retains one MW service - Gold in Manchester, and they are bound to switch this off by the end of the year.


I do find it surprising that Ofcom chooses not to re-advertise any of these frequencies. AM radio is continuing in America so why let it die in the UK?
Global also operates Smooth Kent, Hampshire & Cheshire, which will close by the end of the year (when the local ad contracts run out). This leaves LBC News in London as the last Global AM service.

US AM services have survived by operating a hybrid digital service (IBOC) in a similar fashion to the AM Stereo transmissions that are described earlier in this thread. Therefore there are also the same drawbacks that stopped AM Stereo taking off in the UK. The US also does not have the option of using DAB, as Band III is fully occupied by TV operators both on & off cable.

Last edited by nodrogd; 14-11-2023 at 20:41.
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Old 16-11-2023, 13:22   #77
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Re: AM Radio fading into history

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Originally Posted by RichardCoulter View Post
I wonder whether these frequencies are now longer available or if someone could apply to use them despite them not being advertised?
I am not sure if when Global and Bauer switch off these MW outlets, they still retain the licence to operate a service on these frequencies. The only time that either has paid a financial penalty was when Bauer switched off Absolute Radio's MW transmissions so therefore, it can be suggested that 1215 AM is the only frequency available.

The BBC's situation is ppssibly different. They can switch off any analogue service without facing any penalty and in the 1990s, the MW frequencies they surrendered were repurposed for commercial stations.

---------- Post added at 13:22 ---------- Previous post was at 13:20 ----------

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Originally Posted by nodrogd View Post
Global also operates Smooth Kent, Hampshire & Cheshire, which will close by the end of the year (when the local ad contracts run out). This leaves LBC News in London as the last Global AM service.

US AM services have survived by operating a hybrid digital service (IBOC) in a similar fashion to the AM Stereo transmissions that are described earlier in this thread. Therefore there are also the same drawbacks that stopped AM Stereo taking off in the UK. The US also does not have the option of using DAB, as Band III is fully occupied by TV operators both on & off cable.
Thank you for the correction. I'd forgotten about LBC News still broadcasting on 1152 MW in London.
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Old 07-12-2023, 22:47   #78
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Re: AM Radio fading into history

All the Scottish GHR AM services & the one in Newcastle have now switched to retune loops, as has Downtown Radio in Belfast. This just leaves the South Yorkshire licence group (Sheffield, Barnsley & Doncaster) still carrying the GHR AM service.

When local commercial AM services are closed, the licence to use the frequency at that location is handed back to OFCOM. The only way for Bauer or Global to retain a licence is to ask permission to modify the service, as Global did when they migrated Gold stations to Smooth sometime ago. Frequencies are not allowed to go "silent" & still be retained by an licencee.

Last edited by nodrogd; 07-12-2023 at 22:56.
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Old 12-12-2023, 14:45   #79
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Re: AM Radio fading into history

Thank you that input.

Interesting that Bauer or Global face no consequences for switching off these stations. They did have to pay a small fine when they switched off the MW transmissions for Absolute Radio.

I still find it surprising that Ofcom hasn't offered any of these frequencies for use by another station.
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Old 14-12-2023, 10:40   #80
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Re: AM Radio fading into history

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Originally Posted by Rillington View Post
Thank you that input.

Interesting that Bauer or Global face no consequences for switching off these stations. They did have to pay a small fine when they switched off the MW transmissions for Absolute Radio.

I still find it surprising that Ofcom hasn't offered any of these frequencies for use by another station.
There is a vast difference between local licences & national ones. under OFCOM rules any local analogue provider that duplicates the same service on a local DAB mux can renew the relevant analogue licence automatically without having to re-apply.

As far as higher power (over 100 watts) analogue AM equipment is concerned, there is not a lot of it about now. Most is produced specifically for the US market. When Radio Caroline first got their 1kW licence, they had to extensively modify the Nortel unit purchased for them in order to operate it at 648kHZ, as all US AM stations operate in multiples of 10kHZ.
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Old 28-12-2023, 14:35   #81
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Re: AM Radio fading into history

That's true, and it has made life even easier for Bauer and Global.

As you rightly say, AM is being wound down across Europe although apparently it is still going strong in America. But here in the UK, will there still be any AM broadcasting of any kind by the end of the decade?
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Old 28-12-2023, 17:13   #82
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Re: AM Radio fading into history

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Originally Posted by Rillington View Post
That's true, and it has made life even easier for Bauer and Global.

As you rightly say, AM is being wound down across Europe although apparently it is still going strong in America. But here in the UK, will there still be any AM broadcasting of any kind by the end of the decade?
UKís population density is such that the technology isnít necessary in the same way it is in the US. Outside of the main population centres most of the states have relatively few people spread over enormous distances. AM is better suited to that environment.
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Old 29-12-2023, 14:55   #83
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Re: AM Radio fading into history

That's a very good point when you bear in mind how far a good AM signal can travel. In comparison, FM signals generally only travel approximately 50 miles before the signal starts to deteriorate.

Thinking about it, it does surprise me that America never adopted long wave as LW signals travel even further than MW.
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Old 29-12-2023, 15:04   #84
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Re: AM Radio fading into history

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Originally Posted by Rillington View Post
That's a very good point when you bear in mind how far a good AM signal can travel. In comparison, FM signals generally only travel approximately 50 miles before the signal starts to deteriorate.

Thinking about it, it does surprise me that America never adopted long wave as LW signals travel even further than MW.
The US also prizes localism, possibly once again due to its immense geographic spread and relatively sparse population in most places. An AM transmitter in the principal town in any given locality would serve that town and also any outlying communities that considered themselves its satellites. There would be no need to try to reach the next principal town as they would have their own (and if one of the many standard tropes of American popular culture is to be believed, every small American town loathes its near neighbours anyway, so wouldn’t be interested in listening to their radio stations).
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Old 01-01-2024, 12:26   #85
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Re: AM Radio fading into history

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rillington View Post
That's a very good point when you bear in mind how far a good AM signal can travel. In comparison, FM signals generally only travel approximately 50 miles before the signal starts to deteriorate.

Thinking about it, it does surprise me that America never adopted long wave as LW signals travel even further than MW.
LW sets were produced for the US market in the 1930s, but never took off. The band is in use for NDBs (Non Directional Beacons) to aid navigation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=Cb0s-OF3eiw

The US never introduced DAB as the TV stations refused to give up their Band III capacity. Therefore IBOC & HD radio has become the only option.
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Old 01-01-2024, 13:02   #86
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Re: AM Radio fading into history

The AM radio masts are huge in the USA and the radials take up a large amount of land, if I remember correctly the FCC monitors the efficiency of the broadcast signal so theres no skimping on the radials.

Last edited by Peter729; 01-01-2024 at 13:11.
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Old 06-01-2024, 16:54   #87
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Re: AM Radio fading into history

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Originally Posted by Peter729 View Post
The AM radio masts are huge in the USA and the radials take up a large amount of land, if I remember correctly the FCC monitors the efficiency of the broadcast signal so theres no skimping on the radials.
As far as mast height is concerned, the higher the frequency used, the shorter they can be. The issue most US stations have are nighttime restrictions, which necessitate directional arrays being employed in addition to power reductions.
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Old 06-01-2024, 17:08   #88
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Re: AM Radio fading into history

Even at the top of the US AM frequency range, 1750Khz, the antennas are BIG, the FCC are very proactive in monitoring and the penalties for those who break the rules are large.
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Old 15-01-2024, 14:05   #89
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Re: AM Radio fading into history

Sunshine 855, Ludlow, which has broadcast on AM for more than 30 years has announced that it will be ending its MW transmissions in a few days. I wonder how long it will be before the BBC Local radio stations which still broadcast on MW will also end AM transmissions, given that Radio 4 on long wave is due to end shortly.

All this will leave on AM are the London commercial stations, such as LBC News, TalkSport and BBC Radio 5 Live on AM, and possibly the odd one in various areas, such as Gold in Manchester. My guess is that 5 Live will be the last to go, before the end of the decade.
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Old 03-04-2024, 22:54   #90
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Re: AM Radio fading into history

Radio 4 MW fillers will close on 15th April 2024. The teleswitching service carried on 198 LW is scheduled to continue until March 2025, so is likely to carry R4 audio for some time to come.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/reception/help...ges-to-radio-4

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