Is a tenfold wattage zoom needed for AM radio to survive? Well, the Federal Communications Commission does not think so. However, in the opinion of some people, it still has some chance of getting the required boost and it will serve better if all the American AM radio stations can increase their signal power several times. According to Richard F. Arsenault from the commission, the AM stations need to improve their services and they must maintain the quality and usable benefits like in the past.
According to the statistical data of December 31, 2009, there are currently thousands of stations available in the United States. Of course their condition is not as good as before, due to the availability of online radio stations.
The drop in younger generation listening to AM
On the other hand, there are 6,479 commercial and 3,151 educational FM radio stations available in the United States, as surveyed on the same date. For the last couple of decades, more than 200 AM stations have stopped their service and the number of FM stations that have done similarly is twice the number. Before 1978, 50 percent of the listeners used the AM station which has now dropped down to only 17 percent. Well, this number is mainly because of older people. The young generation is fond of mp3 players or internet radio. Between 12 to 24 years of age, the AM listeners are only 4 percent and the rest 96 percent like the FM.
Quality decline in signal of AM
The problem with AM is the quality. The FM stations have better sound clarity than the AMs. To regain the lost customers, AM stations are trying very hard to develop their services. The Commission gave permission to the AM stations to broadcast their programs on the FM translators during night. Some of the AM stations shut down their services at night to resist the skywave propagation. This is the weakness in the ionosphere that sends the AM frequencies hundreds of miles from their original destinations. So without the permission from the Commission to broadcast signals to a long distance at night for a limited period of time, all AM stations must stop their service at night. The other option is to reduce the signal so that the frequency cannot go for a very long distance.
Voices against AM stations using FM translators
Some of the broadcasters do not like the FCC’s idea of letting the AM stations use the FM translators as this gives them more coverage. The translator observance guide has been published last month. However, the setup rules for an AM station were determined in 1991 and after about 20 years, things have not changed much. The major competitors of the AMs are not the other channels, but come from the other gadgets. Beside the single running audio player and online players, most of the gadgets support FM stations.
Whatever the problems and contradictions, AM is not going to close down in the near future. Necessary steps will be taken and they will continue their services in the coming years, in spite of the rejection of developing proposals by the Federal Communications Commission. They just need critical modifications. With the developed technology, it also needs to improve the number of listeners.