The many challenges facing AM radio
What are the chances for survival for the AM band, the senior broadcast medium in the US? According to users of Streamline’s Radio Discussions board, finding compelling programming is one thing; maintain expensive hardware is another; and fending off hungry real estate agents may be the most challenging.
The conversation has been taking place on Radio Discussion’s New York thread.
As for programming, it was noted that most big markets have a successful AM station or two. But one commenter said that the main thing keeping the band alive is the fact that the Sports format has not yet found room on the FM dial, which is already crowded. Opinions ran a bit cooler on the importance of political talk and its aging audience, religious and other niche formats, or the handful of music formats still found on stations that list their channel followed by a kHz.
One person believes that using the AM band to house niche musical formats, presented in a fun way, might inject some life into the band; others are skeptical of that approach.
It was said that AM stations face large fixed costs that put them behind the eight ball before they even attempt to sell enough advertising to make a profit on a band where many listeners rarely venture. This is particularly true of directional stations maintaining two or more towers.
Finally, it was noted that an AM station in Los Angeles moved; the station was sold for $9M. The plot of land that it abandoned sold for $30M. Such disparities in pricing on the open market do not bode well for the future of the AM band.
See and participate in the thread here:
Radio Discussions New York thread