AM broadcasting is facing challenges. In the US, some AM stations, deemed non-commercially viable, have been donated to not-for-profits while many other AM’s struggle to survive. Many large market stations have commenced FM simulcasts of successful AM news/talk stations. In Canada, save a few large cities, AM stations have been completely shut off with conversions to FM.
In Mexico, wherever possible, AM stations are being converted to FM much like Canada, and in Europe we see many countries no longer operate the MW or LW band while those who still do see precipitous reductions in audience size.
In parts of the Middle East, Asia and Africa, AM is still doing very well and new operations are being brought to air while others are upgrading facilities and power.
In this paper we will examine the changes in AM and the move to digital (HD Radio™ Technology and Digital Radio Mondiale – DRM) and compare and contrast the two systems as we struggle to keep the band alive and healthy because there are some distinct advantages to digital AM broadcasting such as cost of distribution and wide area coverage not possible with FM or other digital broadcast methods.