FCC Advised to Authorise AM Digital Technology

09 April 2002

The National Radio Systems Committee – a US body backed by the National Association of Broadcasters and the Consumer Electronics Association – has advised the Federal Communications Commission to authorise the use of digital technology for AM-frequency radio broadcasts during the day.

Such technology (both for AM and FM radio) is developed and licensed solely by iBiquity Digital, which won National Radio Systems Committeeendorsement for its FM offering back in November. The firm – in which fourteen of the leading US radio groups are investors – is still testing its overnight operations.

Digital AM services, claims the NRSC, could “revitalize AM broadcasting … offering near FM-quality stereo reception.”

The NRSC’s recommendation marks the latest step in the transition of America’s radio industry from analogue to digital. Stations in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Seattle and Chicago are expected to commence digital broadcasts later in 2002, with those in Atlanta, Dallas, Boston, Detroit and Denver anticipated to follow suit.

In addition, consumers will be able to purchase sets capable of picking up the broadcasts from January, while car radio manufacturer Clarion announced last week that it will provide auto firms with digital radios from 2004.

Digital radio is broadcast at the same time and same frequency as analogue. The new digital-ready sets will be able to pick up both.

Data sourced from: MediaWeek.com (USA); additional content by WARC staff