Proposal by FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn Could Boost Struggling AM Radio Stations
Then the FCC Commissioner spoke.
The proposal included six points. Among one of the points was a major proposal for AM Radio stations. The FCC will be opening a one-time filing window for AM licensees to apply for an FM translator in their service area. It could mean that every AM radio station could eventually rebroadcast their programming on an FM signal that would serve as a broadcast translator. The news was well received by at the conference. There have also been some on twitter with opposing views. (See below)
We however think it's great news for radio. In particular, the African American oriented news, talk and information programming, that for the most part is heard only on AM stations.
Listeners shift to FM radio, that began in the mid 70's, has been devastating in terms of ratings for these stations and for the Black community. These so-called Soul music stations also maintained their own news departments with full time reporters. That of course has all gone away. Not a good thing for a community that is starved for "real" news and information in this day and time.
But the reality is that no matter how good the programming is, only a handful of people will seek out AM radio and tune in. Older listener's know it's the only place where you will hear national views from the Rev. Al Sharpton Radio Show, "Keepin' It Real" and other local political programming aimed to serve African Americans.
FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn has been an advocate and proponent of making sure media and particularly radio serves the community. This proposal makes good on her promise.
We believe AM stations that are offering a format, that is not currently being heard on FM radio, should be granted an FM translator. The translator would not be a very strong signal in most cases, but it would be much more appealing to listeners versus the static delivery that exists on AM radio.
Here's how Twitter reacted:
FCC proposes that every AM station gets an FM translator to "revitalize the AM Band". Sure let's revamp AM by cluttering FM even more.
— RadioInsight.com (@radioinsight) September 18, 2013
Too much technical jargon in Commissioner Clyburn's plan for AM radio improvement. Can't keep up! #NABRadioShow #FCC
— Radio Survivor (@RadioSurvivor) September 18, 2013
FCC acting chair says she has news about AM Radio. Please stand by. pic.twitter.com/9lnCOHv2go
— Ed Ryan (Editor) (@Radio_Ink) September 18, 2013