Is KFI switch a sign AM radio is really dead?






By Richard Wagoner


Los Angeles Daily News

Saturday August 13, 2016


At 9 a.m. Monday, KFI (640 AM) made the switch to the FM band, at least through the magic of digital HD radio. KLAC (570 AM) did the same.

It’s not really anything new. KABC (790 AM) has been simulcast on KLOS’ (95.5 FM) extra HD stream for years, as has KMZT (1260 AM), which is one of the extra channels on Go Country’s (105.1 FM) HD signal. To hear any of these HD signals over the broadcast airwaves you must use an HD-capable tuner, which can be found in many new cars and trucks. They are available online as well.

What makes KFI’s move significant is that the station has essentially given up on the AM HD signal. The significance? KFI was among the first to broadcast using HD, and it is — or was — considered one of the best success stories for HD digital broadcasts on the AM band. More on that later.


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  1. HD Radio is the biggest joke since the 8Track. Its days are numbered, the fact very few people have the equipment makes it a show stopper from the start. Besides most of the successful stations on am are now talk and who wants to hear talk in HD

  2. Adding an HD radio signal to an existing AM signal is good because it will increase coverage which will result in more listeners. It certainly doesn’t in any way mean AM radio is dead as the above article states. What will be really interesting is if they introduce HD radio only stations which will create additional incentive for consumers to adopt the format. What’s the reception range like for HD radio by the way?

  3. CKNW published the reception map for its HD signal on 101.1. Basically it’s the reception map for 101.1 CFMI. I don’t believe we have any AM HD signals here. If you are buying a new vehicle with HD radio be sure to have it spec’d in the contract. Many salesmen and dealers are completely unfamiliar with the format. For instance, Honda Canada advertises HD radio quite prominently. However it doesn’t come in one of their top of the line vehicles, the Odyssey Touring. A search make it seem like it does but it’s the American model that comes so equipped. And yet Honda Canada has HD radio in its cheapest vehicle.


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