Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mark Fahey, who shares the following piece from Politico:
The Lo-Fi Voices That Speak for America
For decades, AM radio has felt as commonplace as a utility, such a basic fact of life that it’s taken for granted. But that’s changing: Across America, AM radio stations are dwindling in number and profitability, as better-sounding FM signals become cheaper to broadcast and would-be listeners turn to the internet for entertainment.
Yet even in decline, it has a strength that politicians and media insiders who want to understand America would do well to heed. In 2019, thousands of AM stations remain on the air, many of them thriving—in part because they serve unique sets of people whose voices aren’t always heard loudly. For generations, it was considerably cheaper to buy or start an AM station than any other form of mass media, making ownership more accessible to people of color, immigrants, non-English speakers and those with political views outside the mainstream. Without the line-of-sight restrictions of FM radio, AM radio can also cover vast geographic areas, and so remains a staple of rural media. Even now, if you tune into the right frequency on a clear summer night, you can hear a broadcast from half a continent away—listening in on the kinds of conversations that shape identity and politics far outside the Beltway.[…]
Click here to read the full article and view photos at Politico.
(Source: Radio World)
TWR’s Bonaire Facility Gets 440,000 Watt Makeover
In an era when most operators are reluctant to spend even very modest sums maintaining AM broadcast facilities, a southern Caribbean Island medium-wave broadcaster has “gone for the gold,” rebuilding its transmission facility and boosting power nearly five-fold from 100 kW to 440 kW.
The rebuild was more of a “second coming” for the 800 kHz facility, located in Bonaire, an island that is part of The Netherlands, situated about 100 miles off the Venezuelan coast. The station is owned and operated by Trans World Radio, one of the world’s largest evangelical media organizations.[…]
Click here to read at Radio World.
(Source: Stuff.co.nz via Trevor R)
[…]In the longer term, the report raised RNZ’s wish to divest from broadcasting infrastructure.
“RNZ currently owns a significant property portfolio and other related equipment required to support its AM radio services,” it said. “While the AM audience is declining, the cost of maintenance and upkeep of the property, buildings and AM equipment is increasing.”
The report went on to say RNZ was sitting on potentially lucrative land, that could be used for housing.
“RNZ considers it is now time to work with stakeholders to develop plans to, either partially or completely, exit AM broadcasting over time,” the report said.
Thompson said RNZ’s plan to sell of its transition sites would likely take more than a decade. It had just invested in a new AM tower in Titahi Bay, Wellington, that he said cost “millions”.
Through its network of transmission towers, RNZ was also responsible for broadcasting other radio stations including Newstalk ZB and iwi radio stations.
“We think we’re an audience and content organisation, not an infrastructure organisation,” Thompson said.
If RNZ was to sell or close its AM towers, he said the Government would need to make the call. The other broadcasters would also need to be consulted.
Read the full article at Stuff.co.nz by clicking here.
(Source: The Washington Post)
Federal regulators have voted to eliminate a longstanding rule covering radio and television stations, in a move that could ultimately reshape the nation’s media landscape.
The regulation, which was first adopted almost 80 years ago, requires broadcasters to have a physical studio in or near the areas where they have a license to transmit TV or radio signals. Known as the “main studio rule,” the regulation ensured that residents of a community could have a say in their local broadcast station’s operations.
Tuesday’s vote by the Federal Communications Commission lifts that requirement. With the rise of social media, the agency said, consumers now have other ways to get in touch with their local broadcasters.
“Additionally, technology allows broadcast stations to produce local news even without a nearby studio,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said.
But that same technological capability could prompt large media titans to take over small, local TV and radio stations, turning them into megaphones blasting content developed for a national audience rather than a local one, according to critics.[…]
Click here to read the full article at The Washington Post.