Radio Waves: talkSPORT Proposal to Reduce AM, AM Radio Petition, Secret Life of Machines, Navy Signal Intelligence, and DRM General Assembly

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Dave Porter, Mark Hirst, Stuart Smolkin, Bill Forcier, and “Mangosman” for the following tips:

talkSPORT – Proposals to reduce AM Coverage (OfCom)

talkSPORT Limited (“talkSPORT”) submitted a request to reduce the coverage of its national AM
(medium wave) commercial radio service from 93% to 89.9%, by ceasing transmissions from the
following four of its twenty-two transmitter sites:

  • Dumfries (Dumfries & Galloway)
  • Kingston upon Hull (East Riding of Yorkshire)
  • Fern Barrow (Bournemouth)
  • Greenside Scalp (Tayside)

We consulted on the request with a preliminary view that we were minded to approve it. We have had regard to the responses we have received in reaching our decision. We received two responses agreeing with the proposal and four disagreeing. In section 3 below, we summarise stakeholders’ comments, assess them and outline the conclusions we have reached.

What we have decided – in brief

Ofcom has decided to approve the request submitted by talkSPORT Limited to reduce its AM
(medium wave) coverage by ceasing transmissions from four of its transmitter sites.

Click here to read the full PDF brief.

Save AM Radio – A Part of the Emergency Alert System! (

In times of emergency AM Radio could be your only source of information.

AM Radio is part of the Emergency Alert System, so critical life saving information during hurricanes, floods, blackouts and other disasters are delivered to you via AM Radio.

Certain car manufacturers have dropped AM Radio from their current and future vehicles.

This profit motivated move by car manufacturers is dangerous!

Sign the petition to maintain broadcast AM Radio in current and future vehicles, including electric vehicles.

Click here for more information and to sign.

End of a love affair: AM radio is being removed from many cars (Washington Post)

Note: The Washington Post article about AM being removed from cars is behind a paywall. The link provided may give you free access.

America’s love affair between the automobile and AM radio — a century-long romance that provided the soundtrack for lovers’ lanes, kept the lonely company with ballgames and chat shows, sparked family singalongs and defined road trips — is on the verge of collapse, a victim of galloping technological change and swiftly shifting consumer tastes.

The breakup is entirely one-sided, a move by major automakers to eliminate AM radios from new vehicles despite protests from station owners, listeners, first-responders and politicians from both major parties.

Automakers, such as BMW, Volkswagen, Mazda and Tesla, are removing AM radios from new electric vehicles because electric engines can interfere with the sound of AM stations. And Ford, one of the nation’s top-three auto sellers, is taking a bigger step, eliminating AM from all of its vehicles, electric or gas-operated.

Some station owners and advertisers contend that losing access to the car dashboard will indeed be a death blow to many of the nation’s 4,185 AM stations — the possible demise of a core element of the nation’s delivery system for news, political talk (especially on the right), coverage of weather emergencies and foreign language programming.

“This is a tone-deaf display of complete ignorance about what AM radio means to Americans,” said Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers, a trade journal covering the talk radio industry. “It’s not the end of the world for radio, but it is the loss of an iconic piece of American culture.” [Possible paywall: Continue reading…]

Secret Life Of Machines – The Radio (Vintage Episode on YouTube)

Click here to view on YouTube.

Signals intelligence teams reposition to face China, Russia (Navy Times)

TAMPA, Fla. — Special operations signals intelligence teams say they need smaller, more versatile gear that gathers and shares data on the breadth of radio frequencies in all domains — land, sea, air and now space.

The mission has shifted dramatically as the United States ratchets up competition in the frequency bands with peer competitors like Russia and China, a far cry from deciphering mobile phone signals from violent extremists, officials said.

That’s one request to industry within a small slice of a larger portfolio under U.S. Special Operations Command Program Executive Office-Special Reconnaissance.

On Wednesday, a panel of program managers ticked off the varied sensor, communications and intelligence gear the office wants during the Global SOF Foundation’s SOF Week here.

Their efforts to upgrade and improve collection and dissemination of data continues in an ever-more crowded radio frequency spectrum across, and beyond, the globe. [Continue reading…]

DRM Is Smart and on the Way Up (Radio World)

“It’s versatile, flexible and spectrum and energy efficient — so much more so than classic radio broadcast”

The author is chairman of the DRM Consortium. Her commentaries appear regularly at

This was the conclusion and feeling of the in-person and Zoom participants in the Digital Radio Mondiale Consortium General Assembly, held on the sunny island of Mallorca Spain.

Who Uses DRM?
The sky was blue and the boats were swaying in the harbor, but the participants from countries as far apart as India, Brazil, Denmark, South Africa — and other African countries like Egypt, Indonesia, Hungary, Germany and the UK — had other fish to fry.

They wanted to know about DRM in India, where more pure DRM hours are being carried, including dedicated content like news and cricket. More MW transmitters will be inaugurated there, but the decision for the FM digitization is still pending. Last year, Ernst & Young consultants concluded in a study for the I@B Ministry that radio digitization is not only technically beneficial, but also financially. “Digital Radio can help grow the Radio Segment in India by three times over five years.” The local automotive industry, with almost six million new Indian cars equipped with DRM radios, is also very interested in the decision. The big Indian and international car brands, eying a return on their huge investments, are ready to quickly software upgrade the existing DRM AM receivers to digital DRM FM. [Continue reading…]

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8 thoughts on “Radio Waves: talkSPORT Proposal to Reduce AM, AM Radio Petition, Secret Life of Machines, Navy Signal Intelligence, and DRM General Assembly

  1. mangosman

    The problem is the power of the telcos.
    For example for the USA market the receiver chip in cell phones is capable of FM reception but is not activated. This forces listeners to stream using their data allowance. In the Iphone case Apple doesn’t want competition with itunes. The NAB has tried to convince the manufacturers to enable FM reception in phones.

    If you look at the Bios of the FCC commissioners they all lawyers who say they support 5G. There is no commissioners from the broadcast industry or anywhere else. The CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters is also a lawyer. Even in their technology hierarchy only 2 out of 7 have an Engineering Degree and none have worked in the radio broadcasting field.
    Remember that the FCC bought the shift of FM radio from the 40 MHz band to the current frequency band for the financial benefit of RCA/NBC, the lack of AM stereo, the inability to reject reflected digital TV signals and a digital radio system which transmits the digital signals on another broadcasters’ channel.

    The FCC has no restriction on transport vehicle unintended radiation ie switching noise in EVs. I shudder to think what it will be like living next to a traffic light intersection on a busy highway. The noise will be stronger as the cars accelerate from the new green traffic light. Not enough metal to stop it escaping the vehicle. Electric semitrailers are next!

    Similarly to phones, in infotainment systems in vehicles, there is a tuner chip and a demodulation/decoding chip. It depends on the firmware loaded what it will do. As a default they all do AM and FM, with options for DAB+. DRM and HD radio®. HD radio® requires a royalty payment to xperi Inc.
    The telcos would like each vehicle to be a mobile phone to wifi hotspot, thus requiring and additional mobile phone account. Xperi wants to use the return path through that mobile phone link to transmit the number of people in the vehicle and whether they are actually listening to that broadcaster! Remember that every infotainment system contains a GPS receiver for the navigation system, so the vehicle knows where it is. Will that information be transmitted back to the broadcaster?

  2. Richard

    Please could you publish an article on protecting all radios, aerials, computers, mobile phones, technologies, etc…
    from the EMP of Nuclear bombs
    Many thanks ?

  3. Vonu

    The best way to reinvigorate and save medium wave worldwide would be to adopt universal DRM to create a worldwide market for turnkey DRM receivers, which are suffering from a chicken and egg standoff.
    DRM has already been demonstrated on shortwave to be able to provide the AM stereo that the FCC murdered in the 80s with a limited so-called market solution that didn’t improve fidelity. At the same time, there would be enough bandwidth to provide an on-channel video stream.

    1. mangosman

      DRM is digital radio mondiale. It does not use amplitude modulation at all. DRM can operate in all broadcasting bands from 150 kHz to 230 MHz. Yes this includes the frequency bands used by AM ie low, medium and high frequency bands along with VHF band 1 (was used by analog TV) , band 2 (FM uses) and band 3 (used by digital audio broadcasting and digital TV).
      In pure digital systems they transmit numbers only, so what the numbers represent is up to the broadcasters, provided the receivers can reproduce the original signals ie speakers and screens.
      Thus stereo sound means in high data rate systems transmit a pair of digital signals sent in blocks alternating between left and right. In low data rate systems there is a mono signal and a much lower data rate signal ‘steering’ the sound to the left or right.
      I agree that the FCC should have selected one of the 4 contenders for AM stereo back them. AM and all AM stereo signals are incapable of the bandwidth to transmit images. Even FM can only achieve a scrolling line of text called Radio Data System.

  4. Hosein

    It is really a regrettable decision that the famous car manufacturers are removing the amplitude modulation, which is the mother of the science of radio communication, from the cars. In my opinion, this is an insult to the proud history of amateur radio. Jamming on AM radio is just an excuse. The main reason for this wrong decision, which they do not honestly express, is the policy of reducing costs. Because the only way to communicate with people in emergency situations is through AM radio, so the responsibility for people’s lives and health in times of natural disasters lies with those who remove AM radios from automobiles. Sincerely, Hosein from Iran

  5. Connor Walsh

    No MW or LW in my 2015 Renault Zoe. But hey, that’s just a reason to buy another radio and store it in the car… I can whisper that it won’t actually be necessary or helpful even in a disaster, and I love FM adding anyway. Incidentally I got my best ever weather satellite apt reception in the Zoe (stationary), with a HF Discovery+ and youloop.

  6. Mark

    Am in my old 2015 Nissan Leaf sounded pretty good, there was no noise that I noticed from the electrics.

    My BMW i3 on the other hand, absolutely obliterated the entire AM band, it was disabled by software but I was able to enable it with an app for the phone and a OBDII dongle. It enabled the 49M Shortwave band which was quite a surprise.

    There’s a reason Am was so poor in the I3 because there was no metal in the chassis it is all CF.

    Perhaps the reason Am isn’t so good in electrics today might be to do with the fact that while the shassis might be metal, there’s less and less metal used in cars and it’s either Aluminium or plastic, most of the car panels today is plastic, even the roof.

    You’ll find it viturally impossible today to put a mag mount on any new car. So I presume most hams these days in new cars are using DMR, D-star or Fusion.

    AM is mostly disable via software because radios today are jsut a single chip so if manufacturers have some kind of Agenda then this is a far more serious topic and one we should investigate and report and also challenge.


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