Back To AM Radio

I feel bad about AM. Technology has removed lots of the advantage the AM frequencies one held. It’s tough to make money and employ people.

I ended up listening to AM radio today. I’m not 100% sure how it happening but there it was in all its staticky glory just where I’d left it! I started broadcasting on AM radio back in Fall River, MA and worked my way through Florida, Charlotte, Cleveland, Phoenix and Philadelphia.

I listened to one show discussing the Dodgers legal and financial situation. It was probably Dan Patrick. What I heard was well done and entertaining.

Next up was Laura Ingram. She seems so angry and mean.

Most radio talk is conservative.

Tonight on my way home I looked for and quickly found 1110 WBT Charlotte. It’s a 50,000 watt clear channel station. There are just a few weak stations widely spread out on sharing the frequency.

WBT was booming in tonight. It’s antenna pattern (the diagram on the left) concentrates the signal up and down the East Coast. That was the cool part of working nights there in the early 70s. Their signal really got out–Canada to Florida sang one of our jingles played exclusively at night!

Though it was late at night WBT’s midnight news was local and had a traffic reporter and meteorologist. After midnight it was Neal Boortz. Syndicated. Recorded. Conservative.

I feel bad about AM. Technology has removed lots of the advantage the AM frequencies one held. It’s tough to make money and employ people.

By the way, the AM radio in the Subaru Outback I’m driving is excellent. They don’t pay me to tout their radios and I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t true.

11 thoughts on “Back To AM Radio”

  1. GEOFF,AM radio is still with us????? LOL! I remember, 13 WAVZ,back in the late 70’s!! I think it was owned by KOPS/MONAHAN, along with WKCI (KC 101). Its funny 45 rpm records, were played at higher speeds, to better include more ads!! Many songs i liked, sound a bit slower, on CDs and YOU TUBE!!

  2. AM radio still feels like magic…especially late at night. Memory’s of childhood and listening to far-away voices on a transistor radio that you snuck into bed.
    My second radio job back in ’79 was at a little AM in Newport VT (1490 WIKE) I was the night jock. I used to get calls, almost every night from West Virginia. For some reason the skip would hit that one small town on a regular basis.

  3. Radio magic…listening to the top ten list on Sunday night. Hanging by the pool listening to WICC and WABC. Sneaking my radio to school so I could listen to the world series at lunchtime on the playground. Radio magic…

  4. I enjoy listening to AM radio. One of my dream jobs while growing up was to be on radio. It’s cool to find stations to listen to from out of state.

  5. I listen to AM radio EVERY day..KNX-1070 in LA for traffic, etc. I’ve heard it clearly as far as Seattle, WA area, and down to San Diego.

    Way better range than FM.

  6. One of the few things I still listen to AM radio for is Cubs games. Otherwise, I don’t see the need. I can find the info I used, traffic and weather, to get on AM on my iPhone, and usually faster, without having to wait for the 2’s or the 8’s.

    Though, I did listen to KNX when I was out in LA. Just for fun.

    But here in Madison….I *never* listen to any of our local AM stations. It’s all conservative talk radio, or sports, save for the legendary WHA-AM, which these days is just a repeater for the WPR Ideas network.

  7. We have a good AM station (WILI-1400) in Willimantic. During the week Wayne Norman has a 7am-9am talk show I like to listen to. He brings on guests–usually local–to talk on a topic they’re experts at or are interesting for whatever reason. For example, he recently had a guy from UConn’s facilities dept. talk about the corpse flower that was in bloom–and stench! I’m very interested in the weather, and the host is a real weather nut who knows his stuff, so I enjoy listening to him and the meteorologist who does the forecasting doing 3 or 4 minute talk about the forecast each hour.

  8. I remember when I went to Husson College in Bangor, ME back in the 60’s, I just couldn’t wait until sunset so I could listen to my hometown stations. Bangor had 3 AM stations in those days, and one of them went off the air at sunset. WTIC, the 50,000 watter came in strong every night. But surprisingly WPOP and WDRC would have a strong signal on a clear night even though they were 5,000 watters. Some nights they struggled. Whether their signals patterns are still the same is something I am not sure of.

  9. Static is one of the “undesirable” certainties with the AM band. But, c’mon Geoff, as a meteorologist…what a plus. Yes…I can get a loop of the latest radar on my iPhone…but…it won’t tell me if the “blob” contains lightning…unless…I tune into AM and hear the distinctive “crackle” of distant lightning. So…you seldom tune into AM radio anymore? I’m disappointed. Regardless of the broadcast content (conservative talk the majority) I would think that an old DXer like yourself would find that passion still very much alive on a regular basis. Did we ~ or did we not DX on a Sunday night in Cleveland at your apartment back around 1974 to hear KFI in LA ??? That was a blast…and I can name that song in one beat.

    Jim Buchanan

  10. I grew up with AM radio and remember its mass appeal back in the 60’s and 70’s. Locals like WICC and WNAB were the ones you tuned to for local news and music while the big league stations like WNBC and WABC did the heavy lifting as far as personality radio goes. Every section of the country had their biggies that stand out, be it WKBW, WLS, CKLW, KHJ, KRLA – you name it, everybody listened to AM radio. It made such an influence in my life that I ended up as chief engineer of one local AM station back in the 1980’s.

    Today AM radio needs to compete with all the entertainment mediums around, be it FM radio, internet streaming or iPod music players. There’s still nothing more thrilling (at least to me) than catching DX of an AM station from far away. Be it for nostalgia or for the sport of DX I still like AM.

    AM radio still offers something of value. Today I mostly listen to talk and consumer-advice programming on AM but still long to hear the music and personalities back from an era way before “shock jocks,” “F-bombs,” and satellite delivered monotone talk.

  11. Dan Ingram on WABC was the best. is airing a Dan Ingram special this weekend in celebration of Dan’s arrival at WABC 50 years ago.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *