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Airwaves: April 13, 2007

Wango Tango

KIIS-FM (102.7 FM) is gearing up for its annual Wango Tango concert scheduled for May 12th at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine. Performing will be Fergie, Ludacris, Rihanna, Pitbull, Robin Thicke, Gym Class Heroes, Baby Bash, Elliot Yamin, Paula Deanda and Omarion.

Ryan Seacrest, who apparently never sleeps, will host the event again this year with the help of his KIIS colleagues. Tickets go on sale today first to KIIS Club VIP members; any tickets remaining will go on sale to the general public tomorrow at Ticketmaster and Prices are ... expensive.

Odd Radio

KPPC (89.3 FM) will air a radio version of Neil Simon's The Odd Couple tomorrow on The Play's the Thing at 10 PM.

Nathas Lane, David Paymer, Dan Castellaneta Yeardly Smith and Linda Pearl star in this story of two divorced men sharing an apartment together. The original movie spawned a successful television program of the same name in the early 1970s.

High Fidelity Broadcasting

Ask almost anyone under the age of 50 if AM radio sounds good, and the likely answer will be "no." Indeed, even one of the inventors of AM radio, Edwin Howard Armstrong, so hated the sound of AM that he invented an entirely new broadcasting method: FM.

But what most people don't understand is that it is not the fidelity, per se, that caused Armstrong to head back to the lab. It was interference. Lightening, for example, makes AM broadcasts crackle. The problem with fidelity is entirely different, yet related: in an effort to reduce interference from the atmosphere, man-made sources and from adjacent stations, radio manufacturers long ago decided to limit the fidelity of most AM receivers by reducing he audio bandwidth, or the range of sounds heard, to little better than the sound of a telephone.

It wasn't always that way. Back in 1959, WLW/New York installed a new transmitter and built new studios, the combination of which allowed them to broadcast from as low as 17 Hz to as high as 21,500 Hz -- better than typical adult human hearing. For comparison, analog stereo FM broadcasts from 20 to 15,000 Hz.

Station management began calling WLW "the nation's highest-fidelity station" when the station debuted its new facilities in January 1959. R. J. Rockwell, vice president of WLW engineering at the time told Broadcasting Magazine, "There seems to be a prevailing misconception that AM stations are limited in their permissible bandwidth ... (we've proven that) high fidelity transmission can be accomplished in the AM band."

Unfortunately, Rockwell couldn't do a thing about interference ...


Copyright © 2007 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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