[AMRadio] FCC and AM on the BC band


Phil Galasso k2pg at worldnet.att.net
Wed Feb 8 22:49:36 EST 2006


----- Original Message -----
> On more than one
> occasion I was under that mixer board looking for a
> source of an intermittant, or 60 hz hum source when
> the disk jockey was saying things that I did not agree
> with, or was playing music that made me want to vomit.

One thing that I could never understand about broadcast engineers is why on
earth do so many of them insist on putting the audio wiring under the
console or in other places where you have to be a contortionist if you have
to troubleshoot something or if you want to change a source into the board?
About 15 years ago, I was the assistant chief engineer at WJLK-AM/FM in
Asbury Park, NJ. The AM program director wanted a new piece of equipment
wired to the board in the air studio. I had to slither under the board to
get at the punch blocks, keeping my head propped up with a phone book!

When my current employer decided to replace the mixer boards in several
studios, I was determined that no wiring was to be connected anywhere inside
the studio furniture. In those studios, all of the punch blocks are located
inside small metal cabinets that are mounted on the wall at eye level. The
lines going into and out of the board are multipair cables that run directly
to the punch blocks. Other multipair cables are terminated with audio
connectors on one end and run to the punch blocks on the other end. If
someone wants something changed in these studios, it only takes about ten
minutes. The cabinets are made by Leviton and they are available at the
major home improvement chains for about $50 each.

The decline of many AM broadcast stations is part of a vicious cycle. When
the FCC lifted ownership limits and allowed stations to run unattended, a
feeding frenzy resulted in companies buying up numerous stations, with the
prices of such stations going through the roof. As the prices went up,
stations cut staff and went to automation and syndicated programming. This
drove away listeners and smaller audiences meant smaller revenue. So the
stations made even more cuts and the results can be seen in the station that
you mentioned.

The most successful AM broadcast stations are those that run locally
oriented programming, including lots of local news. The format can be
anything that people in that community like and that is not offered by
numerous other stations. There is a small AM station in Wisconsin that
broadcasts an all-polka format, with local news and local features. The
people love it! Those stations that simply "pot up the bird" are not
offering anything that people cannot hear on Sirius and XM...except, maybe,
for commercials. This goes for FM radio as well. WKXW-FM in Trenton, NJ runs
a talk format that is all over the road politically...but it is strictly
oriented toward New Jersey, a state that is usually ignored by stations in
New York City and Philadelphia. It is the most listened-to station in that
state, beating WABC, WOR, and other talk stations that run a high percentage
of syndicated programming. Air America? That syndicated service is headed
for bankruptcy.

Phil Galasso
K2PG
Broadcast Engineer for 34 years





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