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Author Topic: The slow death of AM Radio  (Read 765 times)

Offline ChrisSmolinski

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The slow death of AM Radio
« on: January 10, 2024, 1300 UTC »
There's an interesting thread here about AM licence cancellations: https://groups.io/g/IRCA/topic/103569366

some excerpts:

Quote
For those keeping score at home, there were 4987 AMs on the air in the U.S. in December 1990, and that number was down to 4452 as of Sept 2023.  I can't think of many new AMs that have come on the air during that time, except for WMIN 1010 in Minnesota and KGGS 1340 in Kansas.  I'm not counting the stations on the X-band, of course.


Quote
That is a loss of 535 AM stations in the last 33 years. That is 11% or
so of the total number. That is quite a number. That doesn't even
include the Canadian stations.  I am sure there will be many more as
time goes by.



Quote
The only surprise here, for me, is that anyone is still surprised at the attrition rate for AM stations.

As a broker, I can no longer sell a standalone AM station for anything more than the value of the land under its tower, if it even still owns the land. Any residual value comes from an FM translator.

Most AM sites haven't seen any significant reconstruction or even proper routine maintenance in decades. The vast majority of them are 60, 70 or even 80 years old. Any equipment failure thus becomes almost instantly catastrophic. If a station is worth $50,000, it's not going to spend $200,000 to rebuild a tower that comes down.

Bottom line: the pace of AM attrition is about to increase exponentially. The medium may not be dead, but it's very close now. As hobbyists, we have no control over that. All we can do is listen as the dials start to open up again and the growing number of permanent sign-offs or major downgrades creates new DX opportunities.
Chris Smolinski
Westminster, MD
eQSLs appreciated! csmolinski@blackcatsystems.com
netSDR / AFE822x / AirSpy HF+ / KiwiSDR / 900 ft Horz skyloop / 500 ft NE beverage / 250 ft V Beam / 58 ft T2FD / 120 ft T2FD / 400 ft south beverage / 43m, 20m, 10m  dipoles / Crossed Parallel Loop / Discone in a tree

Offline ThaDood

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Re: The slow death of AM Radio?
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2024, 2229 UTC »
I still remember in 2007, Hornell, NY's, 1320AM WHHO, tried a return-to-the-air for about a year. Instead of rebuilding the tower, they ran a longwire, which worked, but didn't have the coverage that they did originally. KQV in Pittsburgh came back, at 1410AM, but more, or less, as a glorified radio 'working' museum. https://www.radio-locator.com/cgi-bin/finder?call=KQV&band=&country=&scope=&count=20&sort=Call&sr=1&s=C&sid=   TIS Stations have been both, switched on and off, over the years, lately. And, the idea of expanding Low Powered radio to AM, for a licensed LPAM, already has, and continued, to get squashed by the NAB. Looks like Part 15'ers are the real AM expanders to take to the air, mainly with the 10ft Antenna and MAX power of 100 milliwatts peak. (Albeit, many Carrier-Current Stations have been taken off air. I know of only five that continue to exist.) Anyway, still interesting STATS to examine from Chris's preceding post.
I was asked, yet another weird question, of how I would like to be buried, when I finally bite the big one. The answer was actually pretty easy. Face-down, like a certain historical figure in the late 1980's, (I will not mention who, but some of you will get it, and that's enough.) Why??? It would be a burial that will satisfy everyone: (1) My enemies will say that it will show me where to go. (2) On the same point, I can have my enemies kiss my butt. (3) It will temporarily give someone a place to park a bicycle. See??? A WIN / WIN for everyone.

Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: The slow death of AM Radio
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2024, 1500 UTC »
Here's a plot of the number of AM stations per year. I though it would be trivial to find data for every year... it's not  ;D

I'm not sure if all the entries are 100% accurate, the dips/wiggles around 2000 for example.

The peak is around 1992. The decline has certainly picked up the past few years, and I suspect it will continue to accelerate.

« Last Edit: January 11, 2024, 1512 UTC by ChrisSmolinski »
Chris Smolinski
Westminster, MD
eQSLs appreciated! csmolinski@blackcatsystems.com
netSDR / AFE822x / AirSpy HF+ / KiwiSDR / 900 ft Horz skyloop / 500 ft NE beverage / 250 ft V Beam / 58 ft T2FD / 120 ft T2FD / 400 ft south beverage / 43m, 20m, 10m  dipoles / Crossed Parallel Loop / Discone in a tree