Is An All-Digital HD Signal AM's Future?
September 5, 2012 at 6:01 AM (PT)
Is HD RADIO the future for AM? That question is pondered in a report in THE LONG BEACH PRESS-TELEGRAM, in which RICHARD WAGONER writes, "HD RADIO was supposed to be the savior of AM radio, which now reaches only about 30% of the listening audience nationwide. But it didn't work out that way. While there are some HD stations on the AM band in LOS ANGELES -- KFI (640 AM), KBRT (740 AM), KFWB (980 AM), KNX (1070 AM) and KDIS (1110 AM) -- the number overall in the U.S. is relatively small."
Oddly, a company that tested HD on AM and backed off its use -- BEASLEY BROADCAST GROUP -- is offering to use one of their stations to test digital HD on AM again.
"The hope is that a full-digital AM band would actually reduce interference, extend the reach of digital broadcasts, and make AM popular once again," notes WAGONER. "At least long-term. Before that can happen completely, almost every radio in the U.S. would have to be replaced, just as televisions were during their digital transition a few years ago.
The test is supported by the NAB. EVP DENNIS WHARTON told ALL ACCESS, "NAB has been asked by our Board to review multiple options for improving AM radio reception. We are consulting a variety of industry and engineering experts. No decisions have been made, and many ideas are being explored. Our goal is to ensue the vibrancy of AM radio for future generations of listeners."