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The thing I loved about AM is that I can hear the same Toronto AM Station through most of southern Ontario even up to lake Huron. When I listen to a Toronto FM Station while driving in Ontario, the reception starts to cut out about an hour outside of the GTA and then the signal is gone very quickly. So AM does have some good properties for signal coverage but the Quality of FM is far superior.

I know I can probably get some AM Simulcast on the sub channel of some FM HD stations, but does not replace the coverage area it once had. Oh well, Times have certainly changed.
 

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AM radio will disappear when the spectrum becomes more valuable than stations. Otherwise theres no harm in keeping it around. It would employ a few people I guess.
BTW can someone fix the title.
 

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With the vanilla-fying of most radio stations (think Virgin Radio, MOVE-FM, the Breeze, etc) there is little live local content except for news and sports on the AM band. A decade ago I was a broadcast engineer on the East Coast and both FM stations in the building would have live announcers from 6 am to 9 pm Monday to Friday before "Otto" took over for the night. Now both stations only have live announcers for the morning and afternoon drive home with syndicated for the rest.

The only advantage that terrestrial radio has over XM, podcasts, and Spotify is that they can be live and local.
But apparently, the owners prefer a model where music is just the noise in between commercials.
 

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With the vanilla-fying of most radio stations (think Virgin Radio, MOVE-FM, the Breeze, etc) there is little live local content except for news and sports on the AM band. A decade ago I was a broadcast engineer on the East Coast and both FM stations in the building would have live announcers from 6 am to 9 pm Monday to Friday before "Otto" took over for the night. Now both stations only have live announcers for the morning and afternoon drive home with syndicated for the rest.

The only advantage that terrestrial radio has over XM, podcasts, and Spotify is that they can be live and local.
But apparently, the owners prefer a model where music is just the noise in between commercials.
Truth. I do love it when my local station's live content is... a call in show from Toronto. Canadian media companies are largely garbage and radio is a great example of how them owning everything just ruins it.

Radio isn't even good for emergencies outside of the biggest markets anymore. With all the automation and syndication, no one is there to go on the air and report live what's going on. You need to get on Twitter to learn that.

Meanwhile streaming has nearly endless music options without the ads and annoying talking heads prattling about nothing.
 

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There is nothing wrong with streaming, Streaming is fine. Streaming platforms have different pricing tiers some have ads, some do not but also charge fees.. Where as AM/FM Radio has commercials but the commercials pay for the service to be run. Not all content on AM/FM Radio exists on streaming platforms, mostly just music. But the good news is a lot of Radio shows also have syndicated their shows as podcasts or have a similar podcast available but slightly tweaked etc.
 

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Can the AM radio band be reused for long range cell phones ?
The cellphone companys have robbed the uhf tv band , maybe they can take AM and put it to use.

This would require larger cell phones, but imagine the cell coverage you could get on AM , it would really put 5G to shame.
 

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In theory, it could be used but there are technical limitations. The interference experienced on AM radio will affect cellular as well. While it won't likely show up the same way, it will affect range and reliability. Another issue is the long wavelength of the frequencies used and the longer antennas required. Another issue is interference due to tropo that has long been an issue (and feature to some) with AM radio. Last but not least is the narrow frequency band. It totals just over 1MHz which is tiny compared to the thousands of MHz available on UHF and SHF and EHF bands. It would be useless for mobile data. Considering the limitations, it would not be profitable or worthwhile. The VHF TV bands would be more suitable for cellular but share some of the same limitations. That's why mobile operators are intent on clawing back UHF and SHF and EHF bands for their own use.
 

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Can the AM radio band be reused for long range cell phones ?
The cellphone companys have robbed the uhf tv band , maybe they can take AM and put it to use.

This would require larger cell phones, but imagine the cell coverage you could get on AM , it would really put 5G to shame.
Not likely for a variety of technical reasons which were pointed out by @ExDilbert. There's not a lot of demand for those frequencies these days. Perhaps they could be reassigned to amateur radio. The need is on the VHF and higher frequencies, with some cell service moving up the the mmWave bands. Even some of the terrestrial microwave bands have been reassigned to cell, such as with "C band" 3.5 GHz, as the telecom network has largely moved to fibre. You may recall the huge horn antennas that used to carry the phone network. They were on 4/6 GHz, but you don't often see them now. There are all sorts of things that need bandwidth in the microwave range and they'll take whatever can be assigned or reassigned to those uses.
 

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In theory, it could be used but there are technical limitations. The interference experienced on AM radio will affect cellular as well. While it won't likely show up the same way, it will affect range and reliability. Another issue is the long wavelength of the frequencies used and the longer antennas required. Another issue is interference due to tropo that has long been an issue (and feature to some) with AM radio. Last but not least is the narrow frequency band. It totals just over 1MHz which is tiny compared to the thousands of MHz available on UHF and SHF and EHF bands. It would be useless for mobile data. Considering the limitations, it would not be profitable or worthwhile. The VHF TV bands would be more suitable for cellular but share some of the same limitations. That's why mobile operators are intent on clawing back UHF and SHF and EHF bands for their own use.
All good points, with one nit -- AM long-distance propagation is not via tropospheric ducting (or even tropospheric scatter), it is via ionospheric skywave propagation. Basically, the E-layer always refracts Medium Waves, but during the day, the closer-to-earth D-layer absorbs them before they can get to the E-layer.
 

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Regardless, AM long-distance propagation is an issue for short distance use, especially at low power levels. At one time, I routinely listened to AM stations that were hundreds of miles away. At night, some were often stronger than much closer stations. Many stations had to shut down or reduce power in the evening due to the interference they caused to other stations. Never mind that noise levels caused by modern devices at medium wave frequencies can sometimes make it useless these days. In theory, medium wave AM is good for long distance use but electrical noise is a major factor in making it less popular.
 

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Still listen to AM here quite a bit when driving, sometimes CBC, but often other local radio stations, there are still a few in MB. Range is a lot better than FM and it's nice to be way out of your area and still pick up local AM stations from home. There is a CBC fm station but it only covers the downtown Winnipeg area and I am not usually anywhere close enough to pick it up.
When on a road trip now we usually use XM radio when out of AM range since it doesn't fade away in 20 minutes or so like FM stations.
 

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At one time, I routinely listened to AM stations that were hundreds of miles away.
I recall frequently receiving CKOC Hamilton while in the Kapuskasing area. Also, WGR Buffalo would often take out the Sudbury station on the same frequency, not that far south of Sudbury.
 

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I listened to WLS from Chicago, over 300 miles away, every evening for some time. I could also get it in the daytime with a short wave radio. There were a number of clear channel AM stations in those days. It wasn't unusual to pick up stations from New York, Chicago and other US cities as far away as Texas. Before that I used a crystal radio and could only pick up two of the 5 local stations but Cincinnati, about 300 miles away would be available every evening. AM radio can be weird.

These days few AM radio stations are receivable due to interference. The one exception is probably in an automobile. I sometimes listened to AM while traveling on the highway. There were lots of stations that came in clearly. As soon as I turned onto local roads that changed. Interference from power lines were usually the culprit. Those nice clear stations would become a garbled mess. A similar thing happened during the blackout of 2003. I switched to a battery operated AM/FM radio as nothing else worked. AM stations I hadn't been able to receive for years came in crystal clear. As power was restored, the stations disappeared into the all too familiar background of noise and static.
 

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Before that I used a crystal radio and could only pick up two of the 5 local stations
When I was a kid, I lived not far from the CHUM AM and CFRB transmitters, located in what's now Mississauga. Back in those days, most kids listened to CHUM and no self respecting kid would be caught dead listening to to CFRB. I could only get CFRB on my crystal radio. :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
AM did try for a while to compete with their version of better sound in the AM Stereo stations that competed for awhile. I remember listening to CKLG fm (Now CFOX) in Vancouver in the late 60's, it was one of the very early FM stations to go to music in North America, and yes it was album music. But I used to listen to am stations such as CFUN and CKLG-during the day we could also get AM stations from Seattle in am-I still can hear in the back of my mind the old identity song "KJR Seattle Channel 95". I dxed as well, I use to listen to WLS Chicago, when I lived in the Okanagan which didn't have many rock stations, Vancouver stations faded in and out, but far away stations would come in fairly steady for several songs then fade and then come back again. I got WWL New Orleans, and I forget the call letters of the Boston station that used to come in at night. With a big antenna I could get KGA Spokane Washington during the day (I lived in Oliver BC).
Great post. Thank you s40.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
That might be the only way for some but it is also a terrible suggestion. I found that some AM Stations have a FM sister station that broadcasts in HD Radio. Some may have a Sub Channel on their HD Radio signal that will be a syndication of their AM broadcast.

Hopefully when I get a new car I am hoping this is the case in the GTA for the AM stations I listen to.
My house stereo systems each have a dedicated FM tuner along with a Sangean hdt-20 am/fm/hd radio. I live between downtown Toronto and Scarborough. I'm a huge fan of AM radio and it's associated talk formats. HD radio has been a Godsend for people like me. Crystal clear audio on the AM stations. I tried internet tuners and SiriusXM, but keep coming back to AM/FM for the local aspect and dj presence. For people in a situation similar to mine I highly recommend it.If you have a good D/A converter connect the Sangean to it via a digital cable.
 

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During the major power outage of 2003 in Toronto, I was on the GO platform at union station when it happened. I had a small AM/FM personal radio in my backpack and pulled it out to listen to the news. All radio stations were off the air except for CFRB. It was right when it happened and they were getting reports live from all the cities without power and this is when I knew it was big! I was providing updates to everyone around me on the platform at the time. Back then, cell phones were mainly phone only and social media was not a thing.
 

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When that failure happened I was driving home from work and listening to CKOC. I noticed the lights go off and soon heard reports on the radio. When I got home, I had to "rough it" and use a dial up Internet connection, with my notebook computer, as my cable modem was down and I arrived home just in time to hear my UPS die.
 
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