Considering putting AM HD back online thoughts?

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ianstewart
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Considering putting AM HD back online thoughts?

Post by ianstewart » Tue Oct 26, 2010 11:53 am

Hi, we are buying an AM station that WAS running in hybrid.

They took the HD gear, but we are considering buying a new set of gear
and using HD again.

I keep getting mixed comments from people about AM and HD.

Is it going to be worth the effort and expense or should we just focus
on the analog?

Ian

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RGORJANCE
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Re: Considering putting AM HD back online thoughts?

Post by RGORJANCE » Tue Oct 26, 2010 4:37 pm

Here are some questions you need to get answers for:

1) How many AM HD radios are in your coverage area?
2) What are the ages, etc, demographics of these potential listeners?
3) What format/product do/will they listen to?
4) Here's the BIGGIE - what is the R.O I. (return on investment of equipment/promotional costs), etc by
increased listener/advertiser base?
5) Do you see ANY signs that would give you a shot at increasing your listener/advertiser base by going HD?

If you find that you have positive answers to these questions, go for it. Otherwise, your best shot is to provide the very best, most attractive analog product you can come up with and work hard to keep it that way.

Anyone else got other ideas/suggestions??

Fossil

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Deep Thought
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Re: Considering putting AM HD back online thoughts?

Post by Deep Thought » Tue Oct 26, 2010 4:48 pm

Right up front: If you are not running at least 5 KW, forget it. If you have more than a 10 mv/m night limit, forget it.

If you have second or third-adjacent neighbors in the area expect interference complaints. If you are running DA you may interfere with yourself off the back side of the pattern.

Since AM IBOC adds nothing to the bottom line the best you can hope for is a few dozen listeners you had anyway buying the radio and possibly talking it up among their social circles. You'll not increase your ratings. It may be cheaper and more effective to buy billboards...you'd get far more exposure.

Unless you plan to give away a few dozen receivers or heavily subsidize them at the local electronics emporium, getting any "HD" receiver penetration will be almost impossible, and if there are FM IBOC stations with multiple streams you may be giving those listeners to them.

AM can sound very good even on crappy radios, but it takes dedication to quality from the source through the ATU. Playing MP3s through a modern digital audio processor almost guarantees disgusting audio. Linking your transmitter with the studio over a Hotline running at 28.8 on a dial-up will give similarly crappy results. There is nothing inherent to AM that mandates awful sound.
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

ianstewart
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Re: Considering putting AM HD back online thoughts?

Post by ianstewart » Tue Oct 26, 2010 5:18 pm

Ok, that helps a lot. Again this was an AM HD before, but the previous owner moved the gear to another
one of their stations. It is only a 1KW station anyway.

Regarding the audio sources. All of our audio is 256K MP3 in our automation and it
goes through an Orban 9200 before it hits the TX.

What changes should I make? I am limited by the audio format support in our automation.

MP2, PCM-WAV and MP3

Thanks,

Ian

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Deep Thought
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Re: Considering putting AM HD back online thoughts?

Post by Deep Thought » Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:13 pm

256 MP3 is about the minimum you can get away with as long as your aren't beating it to death in the processor. The 9200 isn't a blender like some of the Omnias or the Vorsis box can be but considering that storage is almost free there isn't much reason to not store your music as uncompressed PCM files these days. If the source doesn't start out as straight PCM don't try to convert it to that though...it'll just make things worse. If you're getting your music library as MP3 there isn't much you can do.

One of the bigger surprises with the 4-station combo "quad plex" DA in St. Cloud is how good WMIN (1010) sounds in spite of having to traverse all the filters. We've got WAV sources going through an analog Marti STL-10, an analog Optimod 9100 and then a Nautel XR-3. No digital compression anywhere in the chain. It's loud, clean and jumps out of the radio. Each ATU is also matched and the common point is almost flat across the NRSC passband:
4cc743e8.jpg
The spectrum analyzer confirms that the transmitted sidebands are symmetrical too which helps with "loudness" at the radio.

If you can work toward that you will go a long way toward a quality on-air technical product.
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

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Shane
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Re: Considering putting AM HD back online thoughts?

Post by Shane » Wed Oct 27, 2010 5:30 pm

Deep Thought wrote:Right up front: If you are not running at least 5 KW, forget it. If you have more than a 10 mv/m night limit, forget it.

If you have second or third-adjacent neighbors in the area expect interference complaints. If you are running DA you may interfere with yourself off the back side of the pattern.

Since AM IBOC adds nothing to the bottom line the best you can hope for is a few dozen listeners you had anyway buying the radio and possibly talking it up among their social circles. You'll not increase your ratings. It may be cheaper and more effective to buy billboards...you'd get far more exposure.

Unless you plan to give away a few dozen receivers or heavily subsidize them at the local electronics emporium, getting any "HD" receiver penetration will be almost impossible, and if there are FM IBOC stations with multiple streams you may be giving those listeners to them.

AM can sound very good even on crappy radios, but it takes dedication to quality from the source through the ATU. Playing MP3s through a modern digital audio processor almost guarantees disgusting audio. Linking your transmitter with the studio over a Hotline running at 28.8 on a dial-up will give similarly crappy results. There is nothing inherent to AM that mandates awful sound.
AMen, Mark!
Mike Shane, CBRE
---Omaha---

ai4i
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Re: Considering putting AM HD back online thoughts?

Post by ai4i » Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:19 pm

If you own an FM in your market, you might do much better by putting your AM on an HD2 or 3 or 4.
A 1 Kw AM station in Miami did that and now pigybacks on a C1 FM.
_______________________________________
Ai4i is always on the trailing edge of technology

ianstewart
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Re: Considering putting AM HD back online thoughts?

Post by ianstewart » Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:50 pm

We would love to do that. If you know any FM owners in the ABQ market (or any others willing to play JENNiRADIO),
let me know. We should be on the air in Dec.

Sincerely,

Ian Stewart
President Jennifer Smart Foundation
951-244-6205
ian@jenifersmart.com

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