Analog AM/FM Cutoff

An article in ElectronicsWeekly.com entitled, “AM Radio Broadcasts Could End In Two Years“, I find very troubling.

I understand the governments desire to end analog TV service. All the digital channels have been moved to UHF and ceasing VHF broadcasts will free up that spectrum so they can auction it off to the highest bidder. What ever happened to governing the airwaves to serve the public interest?

I don’t understand the rush to shutdown analog AM/FM transmission since the digital counterpart occupies the same frequencies. I also hate to see all those old AM furniture radios no longer functional.

I don’t like the Ibiquity HD radio system for AM at all. FM, so-so, it’s probably an improvement over analog subcarriers. The AM Ibiquity HD radio system is a gross waste of bandwidth. Better quality audio could be fit into an existing spectral footprint.

They are trying to stick us with a system that is incompatible with the rest of the world to limit our exposure to news and opinion from the rest of the world while at the same time edging out smaller broadcasters so that only a handful of mega-corporations remain. We’ve already had a sample of “Fair and Balanced”, and that’s what we’re going to get more of if we allow this to happen.

There is no reason to force a change over. If the economics favor it, stations will switch on their own. I do think that stations on AM should either broadcast analog or digital, not waste bandwidth with hybrid systems, but I do not think the entire band should be mandated to change. A system, such as I proposed, which would fit in the same spectral foot print would allow stations to switch as they felt it was economically beneficial to do so without impacting adjacent stations.

A few analog stations would remain to service those old radios. The biggest thing I don’t like about Ibiquitys’ system is that it uses three channels for audio with “fake” highs when it could fit audio with “real” highs into one channel if it got away from proprietary and non-compatible standards and used open and compatible standards.

I’d urge people write your congress critters and tell them the FCC needs to be returned to governing the airwaves in the publics interest, not in the NAB’s, not in Ibiquitys’ interests. You can write the FCC too but given that they are owned by corporate interest there doesn’t seem to be much chance at persuading them directly.

2 thoughts on Analog AM/FM Cutoff

  1. Concerning the analog AM/FM Cutoff, there aren’t any FCC plans to cut off analog AM or FM broadcasts. The only way HD will be profitable is if the public buys large numbers of the HD receivers which isn’t going to happen anytime soon.
    Digital TV will not be only on UHF. CH 2-51 will be used for digital TV. Only CH 52-69 will be auctioned off for other services. There wasn’t any interest by the other services in the VHF frequencies due to the need for longer antennas needed to receive the VHF fequencies.

  2. Unfortunately, what you state here runs contrary to what I’ve read widely on many other sources.

    Channels 2-13 in particular has been of interest to developers of long range wireless IP services. However, these are largely of interest in rural areas where there wouldn’t likely be conflict with terrestrial television broadcast anyway.

    The FCC has backed off the original dates now saying that they will discontinue analog when there is a 50% conversion. I somehow think that will fail to find political acceptance as well. Time will tell.

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