NAB EVP/Chief Technology Officer Kevin Gage presented to the board this week an engineering study about the options available to AM broadcasters for dealing with issues such as increasing interference from everything from wireless routers to power lines, computers and the new institutional-looking forced fluorescent light bulbs. Some solutions go as far as moving AM stations to the VHF spectrum, or expanding the FM band.
In 2011, the Radio Board authorized a special committee to study the problems of AM. The new NAB Labs operation will also be focusing on AM.
The NAB is also getting data from help consulting firm Hammett & Edison.
Gage also briefed the Radio Board on FASTROAD initiatives related to the development of HD Radio technology.
RBR-TVBR observation: AM is indeed in a bit of a pickle. AM HD Radio is all but dead, as the range is very limited, vs. analog coverage. Many AM stations have added FM signals to overcome these new interference issues. But for indoor reception, it seems for sure that these new coiled up fluorescent light bulbs (and the new LED bulbs, too) forced on consumers to “save energy” create the worst interference for AM. That will only get worse, as more and more homes convert over. Too bad Congress didn’t know this when the laws were made to force bulbs to be more energy efficient.