November 2010
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AM IBOC turn offs?

I have received an e-mail from occasional reader John, who comments that many of the Windy City AM’s have turned their buzz saws off. I note myself today, the same can be said for many of the NYC AM’s.  WABC has had their’s IBOC turned off for quite some time.  The latest to turn off is WNYC on 820 KHz.  Several people have noted the loss of noise on their signal this morning.

According to Ibiquity’s own website, only six AM stations in the NYC market are currently using IBOC.

What does this mean?

Could it be that management is finally realizing that the cure is worse than the disease?  The disease being alleged poor audio quality, and the cure being IBOC itself.

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13 comments to AM IBOC turn offs?

  • Rob H

    KDKA’s 50KW station 1020 in Pittsburgh, PA has stopped transmitting digital for a few weeks now as well, which is rather nice. Hope it stays off. I liked the station but stopped listening when they started transmitting digital. It’s amazing how much interference WBZ 1030 gives them at night. WBZ’s skyway signal is so intense it actually interferes with KDKA within their so-called protected contour. Makes for a poor listening experience with the constant rushing sound in the background. Can’t imagine why they put up with it. I’m sure the insignificant number of people that actually listen to KDKA digital can’t compare to the lost listeners due to the annoying interference situation.

  • Of course, one can always check Barry’s AM-HD one-air site, but it isn’t always updated:

    I’m in Maryland and noticed that WBBM and WCBS haven’t been running IBOC in a while. Of course, WCBS clobbers WWL, and WBZ clobbers WHO. All of this made-up crap that DX listeners don’t matter – tell that to the many truckers (and rural listeners) that depend on, or used to before IBOC, DX-AM and Trucker’s Network out of WLW. I am so disgusted tha I gave up listenening to AM since IBOC was authorized for nighttime use back in 2007. This is iBiquity’s attempt to localize the coverage of AM/FM. As you sow, so shall you reap.

  • Paul Thurst

    One other thing that occurs to me, these HD exciters are pretty fickle and tend to shut down for no apparent reason. That might account for many of these HD AM disappearance then reappearances often reported. I will say, I welcome any all noise reduction by deliberate turn off or system failure.

  • J. Aegerter

    All of the Clear Channel stations are still running the “buzz saw”. And ABC Disney is also sticking with it, however WLS (890 kHz.)turned it off and was running CQUAM at night! I will have to fire up my old Sony to see if they are still doing this.

  • […] Thurst on Engineering Radio reports here on a new slew of AM radio stations that have turned off their HD channels, notably in NYC: I have […]

  • Let’s face it! HD is not meant for AM radio! Let’s bring back AM Stereo and set up a standard for it. And let’s try out FMExtra as an alternative for IBOC! That way, when radio goes digital, there’ll be a choice for what can be used.

  • J. Aegerter

    Update, WBBM (780) and WSCR (670) have the “buzz-saws” back on as of November 25, 2010. Equipment problems, software bugs, or what????

  • Paul Thurst

    @John, the exciters probably crashed and needed to be rebooted.

  • In the NY Metro area we have WOR 710kHz & 660 kHz WFAN together wiping out from 640 kHz to 730 kHz with a little hole in between at 680kHz. Ahh yes… IBOC another great government idea! Just like compact fluorescent light bulbs that Congress wants us to use to save energy. Those things contain mercury and wont start in cold outdoor weather. But HEY thats OK, after all if congress mandates it then it must be good for us right?

  • J. Aegerter

    I wonder if Senator Olympia Snowe’s (R-ME) proposal of returning engineering assistants to the Commissioners at the FCC is going anywhere? Sounds like a good idea to me, if they don’t go overboard with it.

  • Paul Thurst

    Although, I’d imagine trying to give technical/engineering advice to a bunch of politicians and lawyers would be a job akin to Sisyphus.

  • Josh Jones

    It is true that the AM HD exciters crash from time to time. It is after all a glorified computer. It seems to be that like all computers, these things have a finite lifespan, and the tough enviroment of the average transmitter site certainly doesn’t help this fact much. Sonme stations are simply choosing not to sink more money into a failed exciter and reverting to analog.

    Last I checked, WLS is still running C-QUAM at night. When conditions are good, I can hear stereo commercials in Dallas.


  • Josh

    A station in my area WGY (AM 810) just turned off that garbage a few weeks ago….. I hope it stays off!!!!! (They still have it on ON THIER FM SIDE)

    Being able to hear 800/820,830 again is good!!!

    I hate IBOC!!!!!!!!!!

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