As local AM broadcast (a.k.a. mediumwave) stations around the world struggle to find their local niche, a new global angle may be taking shape. Much like the proliferation of political talk shows in the late 80’s which began to give the AM spectrum its identity (at least here in the USA) could the AM broadcast band now be a local vector for international communities?
I found this article and story from NPR member station, WBUR in Boston. It features WILD-AM who has traditionally served the African American community in Boston. Their newest offering, however, is coming from thousands of miles away–from China:
1090 WILD-AM was the scrappy little engine that could. A small-budget radio station with big ideas with over 40 years on air, it earned a trusted place in the heart and soul of Boston’s inner city community. But now that’s all gone. The station serves a very different audience.
[...]As of June 1, China Radio International is the new sound of WILD. The station is targeting “new Americans.”
[...]One of the reasons WILD is no longer on the air is that the marketplace has changed — the competition is greater. What’s happened to WILD is not surprising to media observers like WBUR media analyst John Carroll.
“I think it’s a reflection of what’s happening in the radio market overall, a movement toward consolidation, a movement toward nationalization or internationalization, a movement away from local community presence on radio stations and more toward major conglomerates, which are much less expensive to operate,” Carroll said. “One of the issues is can anyone make the FCC care about this?”
Also, consider reading commentary from Boston Radio Watch.