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Radio AM to FM: November 9, 2001

Digital News

Digital AM and FM radio moved a bit closer to reality in the past few weeks with industry groups analyzing the details of on-air tests conducted by the company that is designing the system, iBiquity Digital.

But the big news on the digital front is the announcement made by receiver manufacturer Kenwood, in which the company said they have licensed iBiquity Digital technology for use in car and home receivers planned for the 2003 model year.

Why is the announcement important? Because it doesn't matter if the technology is there if there are no radios to hear it. AM stereo promised vastly improved listening when it was first proposed, but not enough radios were released to take advantage of it. iBiquity Digital in-band on-channel AM and FM promises almost CD quality sound on both AM and FM ... again, only as long as there are radios with which to hear it.

Fools Gold

The Motley Fool Radio Show, once heard on KFI (640 AM) and KABC (790 AM) is moving to National Public Radio. Still in development, the show -- focussing on personal finances and investing -- is expected to debut within weeks.

Not needing development is The Swingin' Years with Chuck Cecil, the longtime big band program banished from the Los Angeles airwaves when former home KPCC (89.3 FM) was taken over by hostile Minnesotans (Minnesota Public Radio). Swingin' Years can now be heard locally on KLON (88.1 FM) Sunday mornings from 6:00 to 10:00.

Voices Carry

The FCC is deciding whether or not it should launch an examination of local ownership rules. Chairman Michael Powell recently criticized the current media rules and ownership limits as being "dated."

I think they should not only examine the rules; I think they should drop the current rules and institute new rules limiting ownership to no more than one AM, one FM, and one TV station in a particular market. That is the only way to save radio from the self-destruction it is currently experiencing under the almost unlimited current ownership rules, wherein a company that has no business running even one station can own eight in a single city and over 1200 nationwide. Not that I'm picking on any one particular company, mind you.

Of course the FCC actually wants to examine the ownership rules because they want to eliminate them completely, something just slightly different than my plan ...

Funny Line

Roy Laughlin and Charlie Rahilly have been named Clear Channel Regional Vice Presidents of the Los Angeles Trading Area, an area which covers all 36 CC stations in Los Angeles, Riverside, Bakersfield, Santa Barbara and Palmdale/Lancaster. The pair were previously co-managers of CC's eight Los Angeles properties.

Laughlin told, "With over 1200 radio stations in the Clear Channel fold and the next closest company at 183, it should be obvious to all in this business who is serious about radio. I am glad I am on the serious side!"

That Laughlin is such a jokester. Clear Channel is not serious about radio, other than to suck the blood out of it. I wonder if he really believes his own, um, stuff? Certainly no one who loves radio does.


Copyright © 2001 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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