Music, news, sports, scripted entertainment – it was all there in the early days of broadcasting. And it remained strong even after the advent of television forced radio away from block programming and into formatted programming.
However, the better signal of FM first made AM a second choice for musical programming, and now even spoken word formats are moving to the FM dial.
Nowadays, according to Veronis Suhler Stevenson, the medium is down to 15% of the American audience. That’s down from 60% in the 1970s.
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai appeared on the NPR program, noting that there was still something for everybody on AM. Pai has been on a campaign to revitalize the AM band.
Pai said the medium’s technical problems are damaging its health – even things like power lines have a negative impact on the medium. He said it’s been awhile since the FCC has looked up close and personal at the medium, and said he believes there are regulations that can be removed that will work to the benefit of AM operators.
He’s talking about power increases, conversion to digital broadcast, using FM translators, and that’s just a start.
Pai stated his firm belief in the free market – and he believes that if AM is deregulated, the free market will tend to swing its way.[audio:091013-takeaway-am.mp3|titles=Audio Clip]
Source: WNYC/Public Radio International