Nice kickoff for AM Stereo: Two new AM Stereo stations on the air!
KRIB-1490 and WNMB-900 have both started transmitting full analog AM Stereo signals, despite a huge industry push for Ibiquity HD Radio IBOC technology. In WNMB's case, they have received some very positive listener feedback, including on guy amazed at the quality sound in his brand new Ford Expedition, shipped with factory premium sound system. Yes, many American cars feature AM Stereo support in their better sound system, meaning anyone choosing to broadcast AM Stereo today can tap into a similarly equipped listener base that is many times larger than HD Radio will be for many years to come.
Why did they do this? In the case of WNMB, it was the desire to deliver the best product they could with out risk of losing their existing listeners. IBOC, demands a noisy and narrow analog signal in return for a marginal digital one that only can be received on expensive new radios almost nobody is choosing to buy. AM Stereo, by contrast, can easily deliver great sound that in many ways remains superior to the digital one, on the many AM Stereo equipped receivers in use today.
WNMB has also been educating their listeners with radio giveaway promotions and a tie-in with a local electronics retailer who agreed to stock quality radios for WNMB listeners.
This folks, is how the AM band is going to improve. One station at a time, serving it's listeners with a quality product.
I've written on this topic recently and it appears I am clearly not alone in my thinking that AM Stereo is still relevant today. Just think, if all new HD Radios included support for AM Stereo, the coming IBOC mess would have a nice fallback solution for the many up and coming conflicts 30Khz wide AM signals are going to create....
Here's to hoping for a more vibrant and better sounding AM Dial as we move into '06!