January 2017
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Ef the listeners, full speed ahead!

Norway is intent on carrying out its digital radio transition, listeners or not.  I wrote about this two years earlier: Norway says “Goodbye, FM” It seems that their minds are made up, because

Norway’s parliament voted in favour of switching off FM radio after hearing it would lead to a greater choice of radio stations, as well as clearer sound.

Source: Norway warned plan to switch off FM will cut off millions

Now where have I heard that before?  I know that this is in the heart of Socialist Europe, but could this be what is in store here?  I wonder how much longer the US radio stations will survive with shrinking revenue and lack of entertaining programming.

One bright spot; I have been thoroughly enjoying the unintentional humor of NPR’s (National Public, not Radio) “AHHHHH, TRUMP!” coverage.  The Albany, NY outlet has really outdone themselves in this regard.

On a personal note; I have been feeling the urge to write more, so stay tuned!

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12 comments to Ef the listeners, full speed ahead!

  • Larry Doe

    Welcome back Paul! I’ve been in a writing mood also and have submitted a few articles to the Yahoo group ‘High-end FM Tuners’. Since last summer, I have been having quite a lot of fun buying and rebuilding old Heathkit model 15 receivers, tuners and amplifiers (AR-15, AJ-15, AA-15). These first appeared in the company’s 1967 catalog a half century ago. I have thirteen of them in my collection now. I disassemble them completely, wick the solder off the circuit boards and start over using the assembly manual. I reverse-engineered the cable harnesses and make new ones using avionics-grade Tefzel insulated stranded wire in matching colors, one size larger than the original equipment. I also replace all carbon composition resistors with 1 watt metal film precision types along with all new electrolytic and mylar capacitors. It’s disheartening to hear of FM’s shutting off and there has been quite a bit of chatter on the subject today among my fellow High-end FM Tuner enthusiasts. All this makes me glad I haven’t thrown away any of my vinyl!

  • Paul Thurst

    Hey Larry, I like the descriptions of your work; nice to know some things don’t change. Keep the faith, brother.

  • Tom Taylor

    NPR stations should be in license hearings due to “fake news” and obvious political efforts on behalf of democrat candidates. EVERY outlet has gone into overtime to promote anarchy and hate.
    I’m no fan of “the donald” but the “progressives” are off the chain now. “Progressives” are now shilling for thermonuclear war! These are the same “people” who were putting flowers in soilder’s rifles back in ’68. Peaceniks indeed! They want to interfere in Ukrainian politics and then recoil in horror when Russia attempts to influence our elections.
    NPR is a dangerous organization and should be immediately closed for business. Allow private sector “progressive” outlets for sure but DO NOT ALLOW the government to have its own propaganda source!

  • Aaron Read

    Hey Paul, whatever happened with the Energy Oinks TX? Did you put a bullet through the brain and give it a decent burial, or manage to reanimate it back into shuffling, moaning, misery? 😉

  • Chuck Gennaro

    Tom, at this point all mainstream media news sources should probably be required to register as Political Action Committees, because that’s what they are.

    Paul, should be interesting to see if Norwegian consumers go out and purchase new radios…..or not.

  • Paul Thurst

    Tom, You have to wonder when the other shoe is going to drop. Sooner or later, they or the CPB will have to answer to the tax payer on why public funds are being spent on “less than unbiased coverage.”

    Hey Aaron, it is running for the most part (shuffling moaning misery is an apt description).

    Chuck, so far, fewer than 35 percent have. Fifty percent to not approve of the switch over.

  • The gent who made the first comment makes me beg to ask this question: why re-build these splendid tuners when there’s so little quality content on FM anymore? I remember well before the loudness wars when FM could sound spectacular with music formats and air personalities who interacted with their audiences and not talked to them (or talked down to them). Even on public radio stations I hear audio processing that would make me cringe when they play classical music. It seems the only decent FM I can find these days is either when I’m repairing an FM exciter feeding a dummy load or while using a little Part 15 FM transmitter to enjoy my own programming around the house. With today’s radio I found it difficult to justify keeping audiophile-grade FM receivers considering what’s on the air these days.

    If the United States were to adopt a no-analog mandate they would eliminate seniors who can’t afford to buy yet another radio and millennials who are too connected to streaming. The industry will cut its nose off to adopt an all i-buzz dial. Hell, it annoys me to no end where I hear the top-of-hour marker on news stations eight seconds late because they’re running i-buzz, too.

  • Larry Doe

    Hi Bill,

    It’s mostly a nostalgia trip for me. I built an AJ-15 and many other Heathkits in my youth. I agree completely with your observations about the loudness wars. I live in the same market as Paul and there are only two signals I can stand to listen to; WMHT, the classical station when they’re not having a beg-a-thon and Bud Williamson’s JAZZ-FM stations. The one I can hear is 8 Watts ERP on Illinois Mt., 106.3. Alas, I did not hear timely information about the double head-on fatality and closing of the Mid Hudson Bridge until the following day on this station. If there was an ‘I Fart Radio’ channel, I’d listen to it all day, giggling at the wet sounding ones.

  • spinetingler

    NPR receives maybe 10% of its budget via gov’t funds. Probably less than what Clear Channel gets in taz breaks.

  • spinetingler

    Or tax breaks; I can’t speak to their Tasmanian devil animation.

  • Tom Taylor

    Spinetingler: I have no issue with privately funded political outlets. Most NPR affiliated stations are in the non commercial band and are owned by governmental entities such as school boards, universities,state governmental agencies and townships. These stations are indeed largely supported by taxpayers and these are the licenses that should be looked at.
    Part of being a licensee is responsibly reporting issues affecting their communities. I would argue the stations which carry NPR and PRI are largely shilling for governmental interests and do NOT, by and large, “work” for, and represent the community, at large.
    I have the same complaint with religious stations who shill for right wing causes. They are also tax payer supported as they pay no taxes. How churches were ever allowed on the non comm band is beyond me!
    For anyone to argue that NPR is balanced, no matter how it is funded, is ridiculous. That’s like trying to assert Rush Limbaugh is unbiased. Funny how even well educated folks are still easily manipulated…

  • “Paying no taxes” is NOT the same as “taxpayer supported.” Churches, in this narrow sense, are no different than any other nonprofit, philanthropic organization: the state has conferred and upheld a benefit to them because of their (general) mission of the betterment of society.

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