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Thread: So when does the great AM die-off begin?

  1. #1

    So when does the great AM die-off begin?

    AM radio's audience has been declining and aging for years. Yet there have only been more FM than AM stations since about 1993, and the number of non-silent AM's is down only about four or five percent from its peak of nearly five thousand stations in 1991-92. How long till the graph goes off the cliff?

  2. #2

    Re: So when does the great AM die-off begin?

    If a tree falls in a forest, and no one's around to hear, does it make a sound?


  3. #3

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    Re: So when does the great AM die-off begin?

    Tomorrow at 3. Be there.

    Consolation delayed the die-off by about 10-12 years. If not for the law everyone loves to hate, all but the largest AMs in each market would be fgone.

  4. #4

    Re: So when does the great AM die-off begin?

    A sad day indeed, but reality. I grew up with AM, and you simply can't get "that radio sound" off of FM! Too bad the FCC didn't impose AM Stereo, or better yet, CAM-D sooner. It might have helped AM hold on to another decade or so.

  5. #5

    Re: So when does the great AM die-off begin?

    Although on life support for years now, it's not time to pull the plug on AM yet. There are plenty of good stand alone AM's in my area in New Jersey that provide solid local programming and they are doing all right for themselves. At least the programmers are giving it a chance. When most of the local FM's are wall-to-wall music and chucklefests, the AM's are giving you local news, traffic and high school sports, and doing what radio was supposed to do; serve the public interest.
    Elchupacabras is right; there is nothing like that "AM" sound, either. Or that you lose it under bridges, in tunnels and between buildings.

  6. #6

    Re: So when does the great AM die-off begin?

    Quote Originally Posted by GlennSummers
    Although on life support for years now, it's not time to pull the plug on AM yet. There are plenty of good stand alone AM's in my area in New Jersey that provide solid local programming and they are doing all right for themselves. At least the programmers are giving it a chance. When most of the local FM's are wall-to-wall music and chucklefests, the AM's are giving you local news, traffic and high school sports, and doing what radio was supposed to do; serve the public interest.
    Elchupacabras is right; there is nothing like that "AM" sound, either. Or that you lose it under bridges, in tunnels and between buildings.
    I do believe programmers are giving it their best shot. Unfortunately, it is the under 35 crowd who does not. I blame the FCC and the technical side for not demanding changeover to a better technology. IBOC is only good on flamethowers, and even there, it destroys the analog sound and is good for 25 miles. After that, it's a turkey on AM. CAM-D was the last hope and the suits in Washington decided to throw it away.

  7. #7

    Re: So when does the great AM die-off begin?

    Quote Originally Posted by gr8oldies
    Tomorrow at 3. Be there.

    Consolation delayed the die-off by about 10-12 years. If not for the law everyone loves to hate, all but the largest AMs in each market would be fgone.
    I think you mean "consolidation," not "consolation," otherwise that comes off as unintentionally funny. I'm not sure what law you are referring to, but as each AM gets an FM translator, that's one less AM that is still relevant. Oh, the programming may still be relevant (there may still be an audience for it), but the programming (and its audience) have migrated to FM.

    I believe FM began to be the preferred band (especially for music-based formats) in the late '70s in the big cities, but I grew up in a small town, and where I grew up, FM didn't really "take hold" until the early '80s. Oh, we had an FM in the '70s, but it was all elevator music, easy listening, and probably automated at that time.


  8. #8

    Re: So when does the great AM die-off begin?

    Quote Originally Posted by GlennSummers
    Although on life support for years now, it's not time to pull the plug on AM yet. There are plenty of good stand alone AM's in my area in New Jersey that provide solid local programming and they are doing all right for themselves. At least the programmers are giving it a chance. When most of the local FM's are wall-to-wall music and chucklefests, the AM's are giving you local news, traffic and high school sports, and doing what radio was supposed to do; serve the public interest.
    Elchupacabras is right; there is nothing like that "AM" sound, either. Or that you lose it under bridges, in tunnels and between buildings.
    That type of programming has migrated to FM, and will continue to do so as more and more AMs get translators. FMs can be heard at night (important for high school football); AMs cannot.

  9. #9
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    Re: So when does the great AM die-off begin?

    Quote Originally Posted by elchupacabras
    CAM-D was the last hope and the suits in Washington decided to throw it away.
    I think that CAM-D hit a reinforced concrete wall with many engineers and most programmers and managers. Quite a few of us blame Leonard Kahn for killing AM radio by his "if I don't get my way, I am going to spoil it for all of you" with his lawsuit over the original AM stereo 1978/79 decisions... delaying AM stereo another 4 to 5 years.

    By the time the issues were resolved, AM had gone from near parity with FM (FM went over 50% of listening in the average of rated markets in 1977) to a decided minority and much music programming had already left AM, making CQuam irrelvant (as well as nauseating to listen to in a car!).

    I had confirmed order #1 with two of the 5 contenders for WQII (AM). By the time the order could have been fulfilled, I was at an FM and kicking AM's hind quarters... as many were doing all across the US.

    Kahn simply kept AM from being able to offer a needed improvement in the right moment. 5 years later, AM was dead for music, as it is now dead for everything save paid religion and ultra niche programming.
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  10. #10

    Re: So when does the great AM die-off begin?

    Well, if it's any consolidation, the number one stations in Chicago, Frisco, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincy, and Columbus, just to name a few, are AM's. In fact, in Chicago and Frisco, the #'s 1 and 2 are both AM's. In several other markets, the big News/talk AM's are second or third (Unfortunately, most are programming rabble-rousing, hate mongering, right-wing propaganda). So the old gal ain't dead yet.

    Like Beta and cassettes, AM will always be around.

    Right?


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