Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bill (WD9EQD), who writes:
You probably have already seen this, but from The ARRL Letter, November 21, 2019:
Art Donahue, W1AWX, of Franklin, Massachusetts, has posted his “Tribute to a Century of Broadcasting” video in recognition of the centennial of formal radio broadcasts. The video features a complete scan of the AM broadcast band (530 – 1700 kHz), with station IDs for all 118 AM radio channels.
It was a lot of fun to watch the video, hear the on-air id checks, and compare what he heard to the list of stations that I have heard.
Thanks for sharing this, Bill–I missed reading about this in the newsletter. This goes to show you that the AM dial is chock-full of stations here in North America. Those who complain that it’s “dead” simply aren’t listening.
Radio Venceremos (Spanish; in English, “‘We Shall Overcome’ Radio”) was an ‘underground’ radio network of the anti-government Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) during the Salvadoran Civil War. The station “specialized in ideological propaganda, acerbic commentary, and pointed ridicule of the government”. The radio station was founded by Carlos Henríquez Consalvi (Santiago).
Despite the end of the war in 1992, the network continues to broadcast. The war years of the station and its national and international influence were documented in the Spanish-language book Las mil y una historias de radio Venceremos and its English translation, Rebel radio: the story of El Salvador’s Radio Venceremos, by the author José Ignacio López Vigil (translator: Mark Fried), a book recorded by the American Library of Congress. An exhibit honoring Radio Venceremos, including a studio room with original equipment, forms a prominent part of the Museum of the Revolution in Perquín, Morazán, El Salvador.
I also found this film on YouTube (The Radio Venceremos Story) which sheds a little more light on the station. The recording is low-resolution, but the subtitles are legible:
America’s rural radio stations are vanishing – and taking the country’s soul with them
When I arrive at the radio station, Mark Lucke is standing in the doorway, looking out at the spitting, winter rain. He’s slim and stoic, with sad, almost haunted, eyes. The first thing he asks is if I’d like to see “the dungeon”. Who wouldn’t?
Lucke pulls on a Steeler’s jacket and a baseball cap over brown hair that falls halfway down his back, and leads me across the five-acre yard. Out here, 90 miles east of Tucson, the desert is a long sweep of brush the color of beach sand. Lucke seems to slip through the rainy day like a ghost.
The radio station, whose call letters are KHIL, has long been the daily soundtrack for this frontier town (population 3,500) that prides itself on its cowboy culture and quiet pace of life. But six decades after the founding of the station, the property is in foreclosure, with utility disconnect notices coming nearly every month.
Small-town radio is fizzling nationwide, as stations struggle to attract advertisement dollars. And as station owners are forced to sell, media conglomerates snap up rural frequencies for rock-bottom prices, for the sole purpose of relocating them to urban areas. In a more affluent market, they can be flipped for a higher price. With limited frequencies available, larger broadcasters purchase as many as possible – especially those higher on the dial – in a race not dissimilar to a real estate grab.[…]
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.[…]
Thought you and the SWLing bunch would be interested to learn about this. The promoters make it sound so go, but fail to mention all the problems and pitfalls. Hopefully, it will go nowhere, which is the best course possible!
The prospect of a digital-only AM station may still be far on the horizon, but if it one day becomes reality the first step to securing regulatory approval has just occurred. The Federal Communications Commission has put up a proposal submitted by Texas broadcaster Bryan Broadcasting last month for public comment. It’s not a formal rulemaking, but the process could lay the groundwork for a FCC decision allowing digital-only AMs in the future.
In a petition filed last month, Bryan Broadcasting VP and general Ben Downs said giving stations the option of dropping their analog signal would provide struggling AM owns an “innovative tool” with which to compete. Broadcasters will have until May 13 to chime in on what’s been docketed as RM-11836.
Downs says he’s pleasantly surprised to see the FCC moving so quickly on his petition. The proposal drew some attention among engineers at last week’s NAB Show, although agency staffers were less committal. That made it all the more encouraging when Downs returned from the Las Vegas convention to learn the Media Bureau opened it up to comments.
“It was clear from the discussion panels that unless there’s interest shown in this 30-day comment period, we will not have this approved as a licensed option,” Downs said. “I don’t think anyone questions the all-digital MA-3 option from a technical feasibility position anymore, separate from the hybrid mode that is authorized. So I would hope the Commission would recognize that this is the next logical step in the AM Revitalization effort.”[…]