You’ve probably read Dan Mason’s comment about AM radios in hotels.
“I haven’t seen an AM radio in a hotel for a year,” he said. “The first time I didn’t see it, I didn’t think much about it, but then it was 6, 7 times.”
I’m sure hotels have done market studies and learned that few use the radio other than to set its alarm as back-up. And we already know why they don’t have the AM band. You can’t hear most AM stations in a hotel room.
Before you say it, I’ll will. It’s true that some of the upscale and boutique hotels in Europe and Asia have Internet radios in their room – but we'll save that story for another time.
Dan has good reason for concern. CBS Radio has powerhouse AMs in a number of major markets and wants them heard.
The decline of AM radio listening is not entirely due to a migration to FM. Much of it is due to neglect.
You’ve probably heard of the recent modest proposal made by the Broadcast Maximization Committee, an assemblage of consulting engineers – and a broadcast lawyer.
They want to move all AM stations, along with public and non-commercial stations, and existing LPFMs (low power FMs) to a new frequency.
To wit, repositioning them to TV channels 5 and 6 in the U.S. once their existing occupants move to digital.
I can’t think of a better way to kill AM radio. You want to talk about a transplant killing the patient? This is it.
Didn’t they learn anything from the overwhelming failure of HD Radio?
Wonder if that broadcast lawyer’s pro bono? That one’s a joke.
Brilliant. Create a new frequency for what already exists on AM and to the left of the FM dial.
Render every existing AM radio extinct.
I can visualize hundreds of thousands of consumers rushing out to buy those “new frequency” radios.
Did I already mention HD Radio and how well those sold?
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said you can’t step in the same stream twice, right? Tell that to the BMC.
It’ll be about rehabbing AM radio by restoring sound and signal strength to neglected stations.
Every week, we’ll visit a new AM transmitter site to see how well maintained it is.
We'll uncover neglected ground systems coupled with the same old pretext: our engineers have too many stations to deal with and not enough time to pay attention to detail.
Can’t hear the station inside a building? Well, how about the antenna tuning system?
While you’re at it, how about those transmitter tubes? Who was President the last time they were checked?
It seems a bit more logical that with all the existing AM radios in homes and cars we’re better off maintaining what we have. While we’re at it, are there any plans to improve the stations’ content ? Compelling content = revenue.
And how about this? If you don’t want a visit from This Old Frequency, you can surrender your AM license to someone who's willing to make the effort to take care of it. Fair enough?
See, the problem isn’t AM radio. The problem is with those who don’t know how or don’t bother to maintain them.