Friday, October 5, 2012

Opinion: AM…Drop the Doom And Gloom

The AM radio band has been serving the needs of the American people for more than 80 years, and remarkably well. The future of AM can continue to be remarkable, but only if those of us in the broadcast industry adopt a new attitude.

Gloom and doom have overtaken our industry.

Even though there are hundreds of millions of radios in service in the United States, and the erosion of listenership has only been slight, many in radio broadcasting have become passive in response to the attempts of outsiders to raid the successful and profitable radio broadcasting industry….

AM radio can become robust again if we overcome the self-doubt and lethargy that is consuming the thinking of radio operators. We have the infrastructure and resources to push back. We must invigorate programming and invest in improvements in the technical side of the AM facilities…..

AM has become a dumping ground for lackluster programming, a lack of investment and a dismal outlook. The good news is that there are immediate steps that AM broadcasters can take to turn this around.

First, get over this belief that everything must be digital, and that analog is a bad word. There are immediately available technical improvements that can bolster the analog AM signal.

AM operators should dump the ancient RF and audio equipment it is using, and replace with state-of-the-art new transmitters, antenna phasing systems, new ground systems, new audio equipment, new processing equipment and anything else that replaces gear producing a negative impact on the signal.

This one change alone will amaze many.

My message for the redemption and survival of AM radio is to get the best transmitting and studio equipment that is available, and present programming that is unique, innovative and filling a need for the public.

Just think of this: Taylor Swift releases a new song that can only be heard on AM radio. Suddenly, nearly every young person in the USA is listening to AM radio.

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