As many as 40 local television outlets and 200 Canadian radio stations could be forced to close in the next three years as the financial pressures faced by media companies intensify under the COVID-19 pandemic..
Most vulnerable are the country's AM radio stations, the report said, as well as other independent private radio and TV operations in smaller markets across the country.
I don't know.. I think more stations on your dial helps everyone, giving listeners choice and a reason to tune in to AM or FM. Think of a shopping mall full of stores, it's lively and happening, more reasons to go, but if it's down to a few stores, are most people going bother going there? Specialty stores or unique radio stations will get a few, but that would make it harder to find radios and listeners if there's less mainstream attraction.
That's where I think the NAB got it wrong, not wanting low power AM services. It seems to protect big stations from competition, but as they thin out, what's going to bring people to listen in on AM?
The video studio shown in that picture looks nice, big space, and the funky flooring, and paneling. I'll bet CDL will like that.
Here's the thing though, The vast majority of the AM and FM stations are all the same. Most FM stations are "adult contemporary" or synthesized pop(same thing) and almost all AM stations are news/talk/sports. In Toronto for example there's no variety at all....they're all the same. The AM/FM stations are all the same so numbers don't equal variety.
The malls you gave as example are all different stores. Some may be similar but most are different.
But whether more or less is better or not isn't the point, the point is it's better for us hobbiests.
Here in the USA the NAB has the FCC by the balls and this means No Hobby Broadcasters with any reasonable power. I read the letter that was written to agent Pai and he didn't even suggest AM broadcasting for the Churches. Sad indeed but true. In the states I still believe this is not over. Internet streaming for a congregation son't always work because of the delay. The FREE phone conference idea is an interesting one and one I'd have considered however. There is little delay and as long as everyone puts their phone on Mute they can hear the sermon and ask questions when its over if done right.
Even those online classes for students are having issues. Its a big failure in the FCC's and congress's part when they look at big corporations first before anything else.
Right Mark, I find that in my market too, stations tend to be followers, and it seems like it's just what happened as there are more stations and the AM-FM bands have matured.
Music formats especially tend to be tight, cities work to have the same general set of formats, believing that they are tried and true to capture listeners, with a steady pipeline of music fitting that format being produced. That's the formula with networks as they are today, the national conglomerates each specialize in a set of mass appeal formats, but really, in hindsight the concept has been on the radio for decades.
Another thing that takes up space are regional networks, like I can hear at least 5 of the Froggy Country brand of station here, mostly with the same program, some areas were different at drive times. Certainly I'd rather have more diversity than just another Froggy station, that likely bought the frequency from some local station to begin with.
NPR has been a network for years, but at least most of their stations don't seem to run it all the time and originate some programming themselves.
In all that I can see how radio has become a wasteland, post maturity, where people don't care so much about the art any more. My concern with the shopping mall analogy isn't that having more stores brings quality, but it would bring listeners to AM and FM. No matter what the format, having the transmitters shut down, while maybe good for us, could signal to regulators that changes need to be made on the spectrum.
In fact, some years ago Canada had the idea to exchange all AM stations for FM frequencies. Who knows why the regulators cared if a station wanted to use a particular band, but that's what was offered. It didn't affect cities much because they needed more frequencies and stayed with AM, and in fact more schools and ethnic and indigenous programming took to the airwaves, sometimes on low power transmitters (something I think the States should be looking into). Still, other areas, like in the mountains, have no daytime AM stations. I have an earwitness report from someone who stayed in Mont-Laurier on vacation recently and found no AM there, which I found almost unbelievable. I can't imagine an AM dial with nothing on it, that would be like a nightmare for me.
I could imagine choosing any frequency to broadcast on, but with no stations people would never think to try AM. Contrast that to being on open highway near Columbus Ohio, and in a car I was able to tune in AM stations on almost every frequency below 1600 in mid-day.
In Canada, outside of southern Ontario, the AM band is virtually empty in the daytime, with some exceptions near a few cities and that's a country with land area larger then the USA. Even in southern Ontario where a third of the population is look at all the stations that are broadcasting and 90%+ are FM.
Never heard about the regulators, and we have two of them, wanting to offer to move all stations to FM but the space on the band and the much more range allowed and less restriction(no field strength rule) is good for our hobby, in the USA also.
I too would like to know more about why the regulators wanted to migrate AM stations off to FM, I wonder what their motive was? I used to read AM DX newsletters that talked about it, because if members were looking for QSLs, or just to hear certain Canadian AM stations, they were told to get on it, because word had come down that it was planned to have AM stations receive an FM channel, and in exchange shut down their AM transmitter, in areas that had enough space on FM. I never saw an official notice about it, but the word rippled through DX newspapers at the time, might have been in the 2000s?
It always seemed like an unusual ruling, since AM excels in communicating over rural areas and in the mountains.