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Can your radio receiver access 87.7 FM?

Respond to our poll on 87.7 FM!

Here at Radio Survivor we’ve been following the Great Debate over whether Low Power TV stations should be able to stream the 87.7 portion of their channel 6 frequency as an FM signal. A week ago Paul Riismandel noted that in Chicago Weigel Broadcasting is poised to run a Baby Boomer targeted “Me Music” format on that notch. Meanwhile the Federal Communications Commission is trying to decide whether the practice should be permitted at all (here are pro and con filings in that proceeding). The official FM band ranges from 88 to 108 MHz FM.

The other day it occurred to me, however, to check whether my car FM receiver can even access 87.7 FM. It turns out that it can’t. The lowest the LED screen goes is 87.9 FM (which enjoys a sort of special circumstances status on the FM band). My old boombox radio panel goes no lower than 88 FM. On the other hand, I’ve got an ancient Kensington “Super Delux” transistor AM/FM radio, and its FM dial wheel descends all the way down to 87.5!

Just for kicks, I spent some of the weekend trolling around looking at images of FM receiver panels. Here are some possible 87.7 FM getters (click the image for a closer look):


I’m guessing that these or similar receivers sometimes slip down a bit into the 87 FM zone, and that’s why lots of consumers can receive these intrepid little indie 87.7 FM stations. How about doing Radio Survivor a favor and checking your gear for us. Can you access 87.7 FM? If you can pinpoint the notch, can you hear anything? Please post a comment below on your findings. Thanks!


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13 Responses to Can your radio receiver access 87.7 FM?

  1. Joe Farley March 2, 2015 at 10:53 am #

    Hearing WRME 87.7 on the radio in my beater Camry, and this is actually as far down as the radio will tune.

    Also hearing it on a Tecsun PL-880 portable; this will tune down to 87.0 MHz.

    Far southwest suburbs.

  2. Paul Johnston March 4, 2015 at 8:23 am #

    I hear WRME 87.7 on my hd radio with a tv antenna I made. By the Wisconsin border.

  3. Dave March 4, 2015 at 11:44 am #

    I can tune as low as 87.5 and here in LA, I can clearly bring in a spanish language broadcast on 87.7

  4. Paul Riismandel March 4, 2015 at 2:22 pm #

    My Sony HD Radio receiver, NAD receiver, Yamaha Aventage receiver and CCRadio all go down to 87.5. There’s nothing to listen to down there in Portland, except glorious static and bleed-through.

  5. Bill March 4, 2015 at 3:04 pm #

    My 2002 Tacoma and my 2005 Camry both receive 87.7 just fine. Nothing there in our area however in the summer I hear Chicago on extended ground wave in the mornings. I am 180 miles west of Chicago.

  6. Don Mussell March 4, 2015 at 5:31 pm #

    I have many different receivers here, and all of them tune down to 87.75 easily. The Sony digital car radio, the Blaupunkt digital truck radio, my Sangean WR-11, PRD-15 and on and on. I have to rent cars often for work, and I can tune everything I have rented in the past many years to 87.7, but of course, often there is nothing to listen to. And last time I was in Santa Cruz (first part of February), the stock radio in a new Ford Fiesta heard 87.75 (A K-love repeater) quite easily.

  7. Keith March 4, 2015 at 7:44 pm #

    My 2002 Mitsubishi Montero Sport and 2008 Honda Odyssey both tune down to 87.7.

  8. Mike S March 5, 2015 at 7:59 am #

    Reading those stats for new car buyers is a bit depressing.

    Then I thought of the times in my life when I felt like radio was an indispensible part of my life. They fall into two categories: the times when thoughtfully planned music-oriented radio programming influenced my developing musical tastes; and the other, when radio provided an essential source of up-to-date information about a disaster or crisis such as dangerous winter storms, bad accidents on roads, or massive flooding.

    When I suspect the weather is going south and I want an update, I always turn to the radio. The problem is, in today’s market, unless the situation is truly alarming and dire, radios pretty much ignore it. If you are lucky enough to catch their weather report (when? 5 or 7 after the hour? after the half hour? Who knows?), you won’t hear about it. I expect AM to be the more informational of the two bands, and it is actually worse than FM. If Rush Limbaugh happens to be enraged by your local weather conditions, you’d be golden.

    So I was wondering how radio could adapt to the changing state of things. Here are my thoughts: news, weather and traffic beacons similar to the National Weather Service stations; or, brief up to date podcast-type files your car could download when it has access to wifi or if you have cell service and a data plan for your car.

    I’d put the beacons on AM. It would be fairly easy to blanket an area with a low-power AM broadcast. What made me think of this is the travel information channels, always on 1610khz. Also the old civil defense stations marked on radio dials- no matter where you go, you could check these frequencies and get the info needed.

    There would be wiggle room for brief entertainment, if an announcer kept you up to date every five or ten minutes. It really would be more of a return to the earliest stations whose identities definitely included keeping the public informed about important events.

    What do you think, could people be trained to once again rely on radio for important information?

  9. Gina JustGina March 5, 2015 at 2:53 pm #

    Our Kenwood stereo receiver goes all the way down to 87.5, in fact. There’s NOTHING coming in but a flickering stereo signal of snowy static on 87.7 and each increment below that as well.

    We have a (probably mid-70’s era) monaural Panasonic RE 5286 radio that sits in our kitchen and we use it every single day. I just tuned the *analog dial* all the way down to the bottom and although I can’t actually “tell” for sure what it’s stopping on (when the wheel quits moving)… it’s really low. I hear a fuzzy-yet-boomy bleed-over from 107.7 The Bone. (I tuned up to see if “Don’t Fear the Reaper” was indeed playing on it at the time, and YES. So it’s as scientific as I could get with that.

    I also just checked our boom box in the bathroom (Sony Model CFD-E76) and it goes to 87.5. On 87.7 there’s a horrible discordant hash of about three stations at once. Totally different than what I receive on the kitchen radio or on the stereo.
    It was hard to make out all three things, but one was “Forget Me Nots” so I followed a hunch and sure enough, it is a bleed-over from 98.1 Kiss-FM. Lucky guess paid off.
    So I hope this helps you.
    It seems like it’s the Wild West on these low frequencies.

    I’m sure my car radio (10 year old japanese sedan, stock CD-radio) goes to 87.7 FM as well.

  10. Linda March 13, 2015 at 6:41 am #

    I have a 2013 Toyota Camry and I can get 87.7 on the radio. I love this oldies station!!! I live out in the boonies about 50 miles from Chicago and I have no trouble with the reception.

  11. Lucy Cook July 26, 2015 at 10:45 am #

    At the least it’s more informative than one of those reality Television stars, kim this?
    Joey what?

  12. Bob September 10, 2015 at 12:51 pm #

    I have a 2015 Ford Escape and I live in the Chicago area. I want to listen to 87.7 because it has my era of music but my @#$#@# radio stops at 87.9. I have a $20 MP3 player and I can get it there. Ford said to use my MP3 player instead of my $30,000 car. I talked to other car owners (other than Ford) and they get the station fine. Ford won’t do anything about this problem and they are well aware and it wasn’t advertised when I gave them the check for the car!!!

  13. Bill October 20, 2015 at 3:47 pm #

    My 09 outlander gets 87.7 but my 15 escape can’t. Taking it into dealer later this week to address the problem. Wonder if lemon law would apply?

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