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Clear Channel: let AM stations go all digital on a voluntary basis

#digitalAMClear Channel Communications has posted its response to the Federal Communications Commission’s proceeding on AM radio revitalization. The radio giant has many recommendations, among them the suggestion that the FCC should permit all digital AM operations “on a voluntary basis.”

“As more HD receivers are installed in vehicles and more consumer digital receivers are purchased, more Americans are experiencing the sound quality advantages of digital broadcasting,” Clear Channel Vice President Jessica Marventano writes. “While the levels of digital receiver penetration are not at the point where the Commission should consider mandating all-digital AM operation, individual AM broadcasters may find their listeners ready to embrace digital-only reception.”

Early testing of AM all-digital streams “has proven very positive,” the company claims:

“Particularly if an AM station can pair an all-digital AM operation with an analog FM translator, it can serve listener expectations while implementing a transition to all-digital. Consequently, [Clear Channel] proposes that the Commission consider in this docket allowing AM broadcasters to determine the best means, whether analog, hybrid or all-digital, to reach their audiences, by revising Commission rules to allow AM broadcasters to choose all-digital means of broadcasting by notification to the Commission (and the ability to revert back to analog or hybrid upon notification to the Commission).”

This is not the first time that Clear Channel has told the FCC that broadcasters aren’t ready for a digital mandate. The idea here seems to be to make it easier for AM stations to broadcast FM while they experiment with digital AM streams.


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2 Responses to Clear Channel: let AM stations go all digital on a voluntary basis

  1. Bitter Mets Fan January 22, 2014 at 5:44 pm #

    “and more consumer digital receivers are purchased”

    Outside of the expensive stereo system that still is for sale online are there any new radios with HD AM available? Last one I saw was the Insignia Table HD radio and that has been discontinued for awhile.

    • HenningBjerre January 25, 2014 at 1:31 am #

      Haven’t heard any Digital AM stations in years even on AM/FM Hybrid Digital. HD sound clear but always reverted back to analog when signal was bad or interfered with. You can hear digital hash buzz of neighboring digital stations when listening to the fall back analog on AM. Probably the reason why it was discontinued.(Too many Analog only receivers) Hopefully the new HD auto radio’s include Digital AM and bring it back on.

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