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24 hour programming question. AM radio

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++++
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24 hour programming question. AM radio

Post by ++++ » Thu Oct 15, 2015 9:46 am

Does a station on 1230, 1240, 1340, 1400, 1450 or 1490 with 1000 watts or less, need to broadcast 24/7?
The station that drops from 5000 watts to 213 watts at sunset need to be 24/7?
I am talking of small town radio.
Hypothetical: the station has horrible coverage (unless in North Dakota, etc), getting out maybe 15 miles at night.

Little AM radio audience at 3:50 am for example,
most 3rd shift jobs are gone, thus audience, increased AM radio interference.

When I was younger, I grew up on AM radio. Now, there's many more FMs, 500 TV cable channels, streaming, etc,
so the question is:

Could a station sign off at 1am or midnight, or have an old fashioned Monday Morning sign off, for Xmitter work, etc instead of running psa's all night long or is is better to just always be on?

I honestly hear AM stations with no ads (just psa's or filler) from 6pm to 6am.

jry
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Re: 24 hour programming question. AM radio

Post by jry » Thu Oct 15, 2015 12:40 pm

Well, automation and low electric bills mean that it's not that costly to do. We have an AM in Lexington that has about 90 watts at night. We do have listeners that would complain if we took it down.
One of my Cincinnati stations has 259 watts at night. I wouldn't dare take it down. We'd get all kinds of grief.

++++
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Re: 24 hour programming question. AM radio

Post by ++++ » Sat Oct 17, 2015 9:07 am

Thank you for answering the question.
Me, being a radio geek will always listen to the station on 1400, 20 miles away. Music on AM!
Still, it's nice it is there. Even at 3am!
Thank you again!

tvbobn
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Re: 24 hour programming question. AM radio

Post by tvbobn » Sun Oct 18, 2015 4:17 pm

++++ wrote:Does a station on 1230, 1240, 1340, 1400, 1450 or 1490 with 1000 watts or less, need to broadcast 24/7?
The station that drops from 5000 watts to 213 watts at sunset need to be 24/7?
I am talking of small town radio.
Hypothetical: the station has horrible coverage (unless in North Dakota, etc), getting out maybe 15 miles at night.

Little AM radio audience at 3:50 am for example,
most 3rd shift jobs are gone, thus audience, increased AM radio interference.

When I was younger, I grew up on AM radio. Now, there's many more FMs, 500 TV cable channels, streaming, etc,
so the question is:

Could a station sign off at 1am or midnight, or have an old fashioned Monday Morning sign off, for Xmitter work, etc instead of running psa's all night long or is is better to just always be on?

I honestly hear AM stations with no ads (just psa's or filler) from 6pm to 6am.
Let's look at the FCC rules.

If a station is licensed as full time it needs to be on the air a total of two-thirds of the hours between 6AM and 6PM. They also have to operate two-thirds of the time between 6PM and midnight. This is every day except Sunday. Daytime stations only and to follow the 6AM to 6PM requirements even if they have a few watts at night that they can stay on the air with, but are still licensed as a Daytime station!

The frequencies you mention above are "Local Class C stations".

These are FCC rules for Commercial Broadcast AM stations. The owners have to stay on the air the minimum hours based on the rules, not if they just decide to go off the air because they have no advertising or just feel like it.

++++
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Re: 24 hour programming question. AM radio

Post by ++++ » Fri Oct 23, 2015 6:36 pm

JRY seemed to answer the question well.

I'm a dx'er. so a little familiar with hours of operation, and what is expected.

I was just wondering now vs. years ago, if with a down turn in sales, no 3rd shift listening, sprawling areas, much more competition than decades ago.... if a station that wanted to save some cash could/would go off 1-5am for example. I know they "could" but as was pointed out, there might be those 15-50 folks in the middle of the night who might miss the station.

Years ago, I remember Midnight - 6am silent periods everywhere. Now, everyone is 24/7 NSP. Was just wondering if it might makes sense to pull back a tad or not.


Thank you!

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Turkeytop
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Re: 24 hour programming question. AM radio

Post by Turkeytop » Fri Oct 23, 2015 9:56 pm

tvbobn wrote:
++++ wrote:Does a station on 1230, 1240, 1340, 1400, 1450 or 1490 with 1000 watts or less, need to broadcast 24/7?
The station that drops from 5000 watts to 213 watts at sunset need to be 24/7?
I am talking of small town radio.
Hypothetical: the station has horrible coverage (unless in North Dakota, etc), getting out maybe 15 miles at night.

Little AM radio audience at 3:50 am for example,
most 3rd shift jobs are gone, thus audience, increased AM radio interference.

When I was younger, I grew up on AM radio. Now, there's many more FMs, 500 TV cable channels, streaming, etc,
so the question is:

Could a station sign off at 1am or midnight, or have an old fashioned Monday Morning sign off, for Xmitter work, etc instead of running psa's all night long or is is better to just always be on?

I honestly hear AM stations with no ads (just psa's or filler) from 6pm to 6am.
Let's look at the FCC rules.

If a station is licensed as full time it needs to be on the air a total of two-thirds of the hours between 6AM and 6PM. They also have to operate two-thirds of the time between 6PM and midnight. This is every day except Sunday. Daytime stations only and to follow the 6AM to 6PM requirements even if they have a few watts at night that they can stay on the air with, but are still licensed as a Daytime station!

The frequencies you mention above are "Local Class C stations".

These are FCC rules for Commercial Broadcast AM stations. The owners have to stay on the air the minimum hours based on the rules, not if they just decide to go off the air because they have no advertising or just feel like it.

I didn't realize that stations could be required to remain on 24-7.

At one time, it was pretty common for small town stations to go off over night. I remember when even large market, clear channel stations would shut down on Sunday night for maintenance.

Are there still any day time only, sunrise to sunset stations?

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Re: 24 hour programming question. AM radio

Post by ++++ » Sun Oct 25, 2015 9:30 am

Tons still sign off at sunset.

http://www.topazdesigns.com/ambc/ Click any frequency and hit "show all" to see who is doing what.

Happy Hunting!

jry
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Re: 24 hour programming question. AM radio

Post by jry » Mon Oct 26, 2015 1:14 pm

[quote="++++"]JRY seemed to answer the question well.

I'm a dx'er. so a little familiar with hours of operation, and what is expected.

I was just wondering now vs. years ago, if with a down turn in sales, no 3rd shift listening, sprawling areas, much more competition than decades ago.... if a station that wanted to save some cash could/would go off 1-5am for example. I know they "could" but as was pointed out, there might be those 15-50 folks in the middle of the night who might miss the station.

Years ago, I remember Midnight - 6am silent periods everywhere. Now, everyone is 24/7 NSP. Was just wondering if it might makes sense to pull back a tad or not.


Thank you![/quote]
Thanks. The other fun part of AM is that Midnight to 6 AM is also the "Experimental Period". If you need to work on your property and do some tweaking, this was the time to do it. Back when we were tuning WLQV's rebuilt AM array (circa 1990) we would dink around with it then. Our Ampliphase was capable of 60 or 70 KW and we would push it to the max... Fun times!!!

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WOHO
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Re: 24 hour programming question. AM radio

Post by WOHO » Wed Oct 12, 2016 3:17 pm

Okay, so a local 'daytimer' AM was given 3 watts at night when the station was traded for an FM translator in town. Are they required to run the 3 watts at night, or from local sunset to 6pm? I drive past the station, and I don't hear anything at dark, so you're saying they need to keep 3 watts out of the tower, and their new FM translator doesn't count as the AM hours, correct?

jry
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Re: 24 hour programming question. AM radio

Post by jry » Wed Oct 12, 2016 3:41 pm

[quote="WOHO"]Okay, so a local 'daytimer' AM was given 3 watts at night when the station was traded for an FM translator in town. Are they required to run the 3 watts at night, or from local sunset to 6pm? I drive past the station, and I don't hear anything at dark, so you're saying they need to keep 3 watts out of the tower, and their new FM translator doesn't count as the AM hours, correct?[/quote]
The Translator is designed to stay within their Daytime 2MV/M. Many times, the Translator fills in the whole 60. The 54 and 48 can be pretty reliable, too.
The AM station does not have to stay on the air for 3 watts. BTW, it's hard to dial a transmitter down, that low. We had one station that was granted 70 watts (years ago before Solid State boxes) and we had a power reduction circuit to take the transmitters lowest setting (500 watts) down to 70. Useless. I think the minimum is still 6A or sunrise to 6P.
Another factoid... About 10 years ago, the Commission hired a company to recalculate the Pre and Post powers of stations so authorized. They went broke and the Commission has done nothing about this.

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WOHO
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Re: 24 hour programming question. AM radio

Post by WOHO » Thu Oct 13, 2016 8:51 am

I was gonna say, it would be easy enough for an Elmer to build a 5 Watt AM transmitter, BUT, unlike the olde tyme days, I think everything has to be FCC-certified equipment, which would shoot-down that possibility.

What does Monroe's AM560 run at night from their alternate Metro site?

jry
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Re: 24 hour programming question. AM radio

Post by jry » Mon Oct 17, 2016 1:57 pm

[quote="WOHO"]I was gonna say, it would be easy enough for an Elmer to build a 5 Watt AM transmitter, BUT, unlike the olde tyme days, I think everything has to be FCC-certified equipment, which would shoot-down that possibility.

What does Monroe's AM560 run at night from their alternate Metro site?[/quote]

18 Watts. I think that this nighttime license is still considered "experimental". Maybe not. At any rate, i picked them up at night, about 40 miles away and it sounded clear. That's about the most robust 18 watts i've ever heard.

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Calvert DeForest
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Re: 24 hour programming question. AM radio

Post by Calvert DeForest » Sat Nov 05, 2016 2:12 pm

Many if not most AM Daytimers are authorized to run a few watts at night. Sometimes it's just not worth it. I worked for a small-market AM that was licensed for 1KW ERP daytime and 3 watts at night. Operating at nighttime power would have required the purchase of small separate transmitter, as our full-power Harris couldn't dial down below 30 watts without noticeable distortion. 3 watts would have barely covered our COL on a good night, and the rest of the county....forget about it. We killed the lights at sunset. Too bad FM translators weren't an option back then.
I'm not a partisan - I'm just here for the free doughnuts!

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Plate Cap
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Re: 24 hour programming question. AM radio

Post by Plate Cap » Sat Nov 12, 2016 11:16 am

Calvert DeForest wrote:Many if not most AM Daytimers are authorized to run a few watts at night. Sometimes it's just not worth it. I worked for a small-market AM that was licensed for 1KW ERP daytime and 3 watts at night. Operating at nighttime power would have required the purchase of small separate transmitter, as our full-power Harris couldn't dial down below 30 watts without noticeable distortion. 3 watts would have barely covered our COL on a good night, and the rest of the county....forget about it. We killed the lights at sunset. Too bad FM translators weren't an option back then.
At more than one client we saw complex attenuation networks which essentially dropped the lowest transmitter power output available down further to the night level by conversion to heat. Some were pretty Rube Goldberg in design.

In the pre-automation days, I never really saw the point of keeping the lights and heat on, and staff members in place, but a lot of them still did it.
The box that many broadcasters won’t look outside of was made in 1969 and hasn’t changed significantly since.

jry
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Re: 24 hour programming question. AM radio

Post by jry » Mon Nov 14, 2016 4:07 pm

[quote="Plate Cap"][quote="Calvert DeForest"]Many if not most AM Daytimers are authorized to run a few watts at night. Sometimes it's just not worth it. I worked for a small-market AM that was licensed for 1KW ERP daytime and 3 watts at night. Operating at nighttime power would have required the purchase of small separate transmitter, as our full-power Harris couldn't dial down below 30 watts without noticeable distortion. 3 watts would have barely covered our COL on a good night, and the rest of the county....forget about it. We killed the lights at sunset. Too bad FM translators weren't an option back then.[/quote]

At more than one client we saw complex attenuation networks which essentially dropped the lowest transmitter power output available down further to the night level by conversion to heat. Some were pretty Rube Goldberg in design.

In the pre-automation days, I never really saw the point of keeping the lights and heat on, and staff members in place, but a lot of them still did it.[/quote]

Like the "Heater" that we had at 1390....

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