The FCC is giving interested parties another 30 days to weigh in on comments already made regarding proposed rule changes that would benefit AM radio stations. For the first time since 1987, the FCC is taking a comprehensive look at AM radio to review possible policy changes. A window for filing comments closed Jan. 24, and the deadline for responses to those comments was set to close Feb. 18.
Colorado Public Radio has found a new use for the spare AM frequency that it couldn’t sell. OpenAir 1340 took to the air last month, bringing the Denver area a Triple A–format station featuring rock, folk and indie music ranging from the present day to rootsy influences. The station signed on Oct. 31 with the song “Colorado” by Denver band Paper Bird, an early indicator of OpenAir’s commitment to showcasing local music. CPR has already recorded more than a dozen local bands in its studios for broadcast on OpenAir.
AM radio uses the low frequencies where radio began, which have much longer wavelengths. While FM antennas are relatively small and mounted high on towers, AM’s longer wavelengths use the entire tower as an antenna, along with a network of underground wires that typically surround the tower in a circle as wide as the tower is high. Experts in the black art of AM facility design recommend that AM towers’ height be a precise fraction, such as one-quarter, of the station’s wavelength so that the tower will resonate with the frequency. Stations with lower frequencies tend to have higher towers. Old-timer KOAC in Corvallis, Ore.
All three major bond-rating firms have now downgraded the Colorado Public Radio bonds that provided $4.7 million for the network’s 2001 expansion. The reason: CPR’s 2008 decision to take on the costs of an additional FM channel …
Thanks to financing from the new Public Radio Capital (PRC) fund, Colorado Public Radio just realized a long-standing goal—buying Denver AM station KVOD, which it plans to program with wall-to-wall classical music.