Low Power AM Petition for Rulemaking Accepted at FCC

RM-11287 is a multi-party petition that calls for the opening of the AM band to small broadcasters. Two of the five parties involved also filed the original petition for rulemaking that led to LPFM’s conception.

This has been a long time coming: citizen interest in LPAM has percolated since the 1990s, and there’s been open discussion of the idea since at least 2002. In 2003 a respected broadcast engineer submitted  a proposal to the FCC which called for the creation of 30 and 100-watt “neighborhood radio” AM stations with 1-5 mile broadcast ranges. The FCC never formally acknowledged receipt of this document. In 2004 efforts were made to revive the proposal, to no avail. Building on these previous efforts with copious field experimentation led to the petition the FCC finally accepted. Read More

LPAM’s Appleseed Bears Fruit

Kyle Drake, the revolutionary LPAM guru whom I had the pleasure to meet at the RAD Conference, has unleashed something with great potential to give LPAM a significant kickstart in the proliferation department.

Key to this is a tunable loading coil – vitally important because it conquers what is probably the biggest drawback to liberation of the AM dial, the unwieldy nature of the antenna system. He’s designed one that works well. Read More

Localism Backlash in Massachusetts

The Vox Radio Group is a regional player in the radio business, owning more than 30 stations in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. Like most broadcast companies it’s been culling staff over the last several years, but when it let go George Trottier, meteorologist of 32 years at WNAW-AM in North Adams, Massachusetts, some karmic line got crossed.

The station got pummeled with feedback from angry listeners – so much so that the WNAW’s general manager re-hired him less than a week later. Publicly: live, on the air, during the morning show. Read More

December Amendment One: A Push for LPAM

As part of the FCC’s current study of localism, an effort’s afoot to lobby the agency to leaglize a form of low power AM radio service. Not only would LPAM be a good supplement to LPFM in general, but it might allow for placement of new community radio stations where congestion on the dial precluds new LPFMs.

Included in this month’s A1 is a supplement that summarizes the process for filing comments with the FCC’s Localism Task Force, and contains a list of recommended issues to emphasize.

The Sound of Silence

It’s been nearly four years since the radio industry began feeding on itself, but it really didn’t hit home until just this month.

As a child, it seemed that WMAQ Radio (AM 670) was always on in my mother’s kitchen. The station had been around almost since radio broadcasting was born. WMAQ took to the air in Chicago in April of 1922. With 50,000 watts of power, WMAQ easily boomed through to southern Wisconsin, where I grew up.

WMAQ is probably best known for its firsts – it was the first station to broadcast a live transatlantic conversation; the first to do play-by-play of professional baseball games; it hosted the first educational radio program (FM radio broadcasting was still more than two decades away from reality). Read More