There weren’t as many stations. There certainly weren’t many FM radios. Where they did exist, FM stations spent little on programming.
In the early 70s I was on 1110 WBT in Charlotte. We were a 50,000 watt AM station with a nighttime signal that blanketed the East Coast. My dad would drive home on the Belt Parkway from Brooklyn to Queens listening to me. How cool was that?
No one cares about AM anymore.
Today’s prime example is WFAN in New York City. CBS Radio just bought WRXP 101.9 FM. 101.9 has featured every format possible under a series of callsigns. Even good friend, blog reader, golden throater v/o guy Rick Allison worked there!
The progressive rock format begun on 101.9 just months ago is out. Sports talk WFAN will now be heard
WFAN will continue to be simulcast on 660 AM, but the smart money says not for long. FM is where the listeners are–certainly the younger ones who still listen to terrestrial radio.
Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers, was quoted in the Times playing down WFAN’s 50,000 watt signal.
“[T]he idea of a radio station that is heard in 25 states is kind of a quaint concept.”
AM is relegated to talk for angry old guys, ethnic stations and passive networks with little or no local programming.
CBS is about to do this to one of the top-10 billing radio stations in the country!
AM stations don’t sound as good as FM (or any other technology invented in the last 90 years). Lightning crashes in the summer make some stations unlistenable. That hurts.
Many stations have highly directional antennas sending signals where people lived 60 years ago, missing today’s suburbs.
When I worked at WMEX in Boston we often heard WKBW on our studio monitors at sunset! At night WPEN, my station in Philly, couldn’t be heard on the Main Line or other western suburbs after dark.
I’m not saying AM deserves to be preserved and supplied with high priced programming. It’s just a shame to see it go. It was such a big part of my life.