What is AM radio?

Silvertone
Silvertone (Photo credit: The Rocketeer)

If you are reading this blog, then you already know the answer to this question.  In fact, you might be listening to AM radio right now.  When you think of AM radio, you probably think of sports, news, or talk shows.  However, in a recent survey, AM radio reminds some people of nothing:

“What is the first thing that pops into your mind when you think of AM radio?” That was the question posed in a study by Mark Kassof & Company. If you came up with “talk,” you’re in the money with the general majority of respondents. Kassof found that among 18-64s, that answer came up more than any other. About 1 in 5 participants (19%) said “talk,” either talk shows or talk radio in general. That was followed by some variation of “information” (news, weather, traffic), at 13%. But 10% said “nothing” comes to mind. With the 18-24 demo, that latter number reaches 17%.

Nothing at all?  When you think about it, this statistic isn’t all that odd.  AM radio has been around since the early 1900’s.  FM radio arrived later on in the 20th century, but AM continued to survive.  Fast forward to 2012, and there are many options for audio entertainment and information.  Web streams via computer and cell phone, satellite radio, HD radio subchannels, podcasts… it’s no wonder some folks don’t think much of AM radio today.

But the fact that some people think of “nothing” when it comes to AM radio doesn’t bode well for the band’s future.  We’ve seen AM stations go dark, such as WLNG (1600) and WGLI (1290) to make way for other, more powerful AM signals in other areas.  WHLI (1100) has outlasted WGSM (now WNYH, 740).  Now that ESPN has landed on FM, will WFAN (660) do the same?  WFAN has survived 25 years on the AM band, could/will it survive 25 more?

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Author: Chuck

I started out as a child, then things kind of grew from there.  I spend way too much time around computers and radios, but I do like to take a break once in a while.  I'm not a real doctor, but I played one on the radio in college. A bit later on, I wrote an article that was published in COMPUTE!'s Gazette (Commodore 64/128 magazine). I also think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.

2 thoughts on “What is AM radio?”

  1. When I was younger thats all I listened to, I used to listen to WBIC, WLIX 540 came in clearly, very informative, all the news you needed to knoe, use to listen to Joe Roberts every morning. AM radio will never be the same, all brokered programming. I am afraid in the near future some of these stations will go dark

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