Broadcast Radio
Technology and Politics

Ford to Discontinue AM Radios in Most New Vehicles Starting in 2024.  Ford plans to drop AM radios from most of its new vehicles starting in 2024, raising concerns about public safety communication.  The automaker had previously announced plans to drop the AM radio from its electric vehicles due to "interference" between the electric drive train and AM reception.  The Detroit Free Press reports that beginning in 2024, Ford will no longer offer AM radio in the majority of its newly released gas and electric-powered vehicles.

Soros-Backed Media Consortium Is Buying, to Censor, Conservative Radio Stations.  Wait until Americans with origins in Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and other lands demolished by communism find out that their favorite conservative radio stations are being bought by a media consortium headed by a longtime henchman of the Marxist founder of Black Lives Matter, Alicia Garza.  And wait until Mexican Americans, with roots in this country going back to the 17th century or earlier, find out that this BLM confidant, Jess Morales Rocketto, includes as one of her goals to tear down a society and culture that has taken generations to build, or that she told Latinos to follow BLM's lead during key moments of instability.  And wait until all these voters find out that the justification the consortium, Latino Media Network, gives for the $60 million purchase of 18 stations is that they are too stupid to be able to tell truth from lies, and have been duped by "disinformation" into voting for conservatives.

Hispanic Leaders Protest Soros-Backed 'Progressive Woke' Takeover of Spanish Talk Radio.  Leaders of the Cuban-American community in Miami held a press conference on Wednesday to protest the proposed sale of 18 Spanish-language radio stations, including iconic anti-communist station Radio Mambí, to a left-wing media network funded in part by an investment fund with ties to George Soros.  Radio Mambí and WQBA, AM stations in Miami, are two of the 18 Spanish-language stations that a group calling itself the "Latino Media Network," run by an Obama White House alum and a left-wing immigration activist, have agreed to purchase from Univisión-Televisa for $60 million, reports confirmed by Univisión indicate.  "Latino Media Network" raised its money from, among other sources, Lakestar Finance (the Soros-linked investment fund) and left-wing celebrities like Eva Longoria.  The individuals leading the effort have described combatting conservative "misinformation" in Spanish as a goal of the purchase.

George Soros-funded group of Hispanic investors buy up dozens of radio stations.  A group of high-profile Hispanic investors bought up 18 radio stations across 10 cities in a $60 million deal bankrolled by an investment firm tied to billionaire liberal activist George Soros.  The group was founded by former Obama administration staffer Stephanie Valencia and campaign veteran Jess Morales Rocketto, who worked for both former President Barack Obama and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. [...] The radio stations form the new Latina Media Network.  The network's association with the Democratic Party and the connection to Mr. Soros, however, alarmed Republican lawmakers.

The Editor says...
Generally speaking, if you're a white guy and you want to buy a radio station in the U.S. — other than a debt-laden station in the middle of nowhere that nobody else wants — you have to get a non-white puppet to act as the ostensible head of the company.  Someone who will make no decisions of his own but will do whatever you say.  I've worked for a company that did exactly that.  Minority ownership seems to be the FCC's highest priority.  Also, unless you have deep pockets and buy multiple stations in large markets, broadcasting is a quick way to lose all your money, because you'll be competing with a few giant companies — as well as the Catholic church — who run dozens if not hundreds of stations, and have eliminated every bit of unnecessary overhead.

Is Spanish-Language Radio Really a Threat to Democracy?  [Scroll down]  An October article in HuffPost by Lautaro Grinspan titled "How Spanish Language Radio Helped Radicalize a Generation of Miami Abuelos" is the acme of this:  Grinspan's old timers aren't human beings with agency, but confused and pitiful vessels for misinformation.  "Virginia, a 58-year-old Cuban immigrant who lives in Broward County, north of Miami, says that many of her mother's radical views stem from the same source:  misinformation on regional Spanish-language talk radio.  To her growing dismay, Virginia says her mamá, 79, is an avid listener, with particularly strong allegiance to right-wing commentators on Radio Mambí, Miami's leading Cuban-exile station."  The article is filled with many such misinformed abuelos  (I can drop Spanish words for authenticity, too) to feed the fears of white Democrats while also allowing them to feel grave concern for the poor, the downtrodden, the people of color.  The key to reading reporting like Grinspan's is to understand that the popularity of anti-communist radio among Cuban refugees in America is actually a very old story.  These outlets have always trafficked in ideas that elite white audiences would consider "hard right" or even "radicalizing."  But they only became sources of "misinformation" once Democrats started losing Hispanic votes.  Is that a coincidence?

Want to Hear Chinese Communist Propaganda Right on Your Own Radio?  I recently spent a few days in Northern Virginia visiting friends from my two decades working in Washington, D.C.  While driving around the Beltway, I happened upon WCRW, 1190 AM, a radio station in Leesburg with 50,000 watts of power, enough to blanket the nation's capital and its environs.  What makes this noteworthy is that the station is leased around the clock by China Radio International, a propaganda arm of the communist regime. [...] Academics are preferred over officials as presenters.  An economics professor from a Chinese university reported on the State Council's new report, "China:  Democracy That Works."  It opens with the claim "democracy is a common value of humanity and an ideal that has always been cherished by the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese people."  But it is a unique form — what the paper calls "whole process democracy," where the test of the popular will is the success of state policy, not merely whether there are elections now and then.  Western concepts of multiparty contests are merely a façade behind which special interests conspire against the public interest.

U.S. Broadcaster Under Scrutiny for Disseminating Autocratic Propaganda.  Federal officials are scrutinizing the U.S. government's Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty news service, established to promote democratic values abroad, after complaints it has distributed foreign propaganda favorable to authoritarian regimes in Central Asia, according to the network, its employees and an internal State Department memo.  State Department officials sent a six-page memo to the leaders of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty earlier this year criticizing a pro-government stance by the service's Tajikistan network and urging them to intervene following repeated complaints by U.S. diplomats, network employees and academics specializing in Central Asia.  They said the network was providing programming favorable to Tajikistan's president, Emomali Rahmon, his government and family.

What is the deal with those FEMA/DHS AM backup transmitters?  In the light of current government trends where the FBI engages in a one year sting operation on a Amish farmer selling raw milk, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms is running guns to Mexican drug cartels, the US Department of Education employing its own SWAT team to serve warrants for delinquent student loans (they say no but offer no other explanation), Gibson Guitars being repeatedly raided for improperly labeled wood products, and so forth, makes me wonder what the government is doing.

FCC Votes To Eliminate Main Studio Rule.  By a 3-2 vote, the Federal Communications Commission today [10/24/2017] scrapped the nearly eight-decade-old rule requiring radio and television stations to operate and staff a main studio in their community of license in order to originate live programming.  The move also does away with the requirement that the main studio have full-time management and staff present during normal business hours.

In 2017, Norway will be first country to shut down FM radio.  Norway will shut down FM radio in the country beginning in 2017, reports.  The Norwegian Ministry of Culture finalized a shift date this week, making it the first country to do away with FM radio entirely. The country plans to transition to Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) as a national standard.  A statement released this week by the Ministry of Culture confirms a switch-off date that was proposed by the Norwegian government back in 2011.  The government has concluded that the country is capable of meeting all the requirements necessary for a smooth transition to digital.

"Progressive" talk radio station shuts down, feels betrayed.  From the website of WVKO 1580AM in Columbus, "Ohio's Progressive Talk":  ["]It is with great sadness I must inform WVKO's listeners that once again, Progressive Talk will be silenced on the Columbus airwaves.  Our one-year lease on the station is about to expire, and at this time there is no way that we can continue operating the station.["]

The Editor says...
Left-wing talk radio has been tried many times and has never been commercially successful, because (1) there aren't that many leftists, partly because they feel free to abort their offspring, (2) if you've heard one episode of a left-wing rant program, you've heard them all, (3) advertisers won't support tax-and-spend anticapitalists who are trying to put those advertisers out of business, or under the control of the government, and (4) the message from left-wing talk radio is tiresome and disheartening:  There is never anything uplifting in the extemporaneous rant of a baby-killing totalitarian marxist.  A lot of late-night right-wing radio is tiresome, too, but at least it's punctuated with pride in our country, love of freedom, and faith in God.

Talk radio's not dead, just moonbats' radio.  Less than 20 percent of the radio audience ever listens to AM radio — and it's a mighty old audience, too.  They don't call it "Ancient Modulation" for nothing.

Surely you can't be Sirius!
Why I Didn't Renew My Sirius-XM:  On some of the Sirius-XM talk channels, commercials are 40-50 percent of the "content." ... There's nothing wrong with advertising your product.  What has been eating at me for years now and finally caused me to [dispense] with it is this business of paying to be spoon-fed ads.

Jury awards $16.57 million to radio contestant's survivors.  A Sacramento Superior Court jury today awarded the survivors of Jennifer Lea Strange $16,577,118 as a result of her death nearly three years ago in a water-drinking contest conducted by a local radio station.

Digital Killed the Radio Star.  Today, the technology to create and compose music has become idiot proof and dirt cheap — the gates have been thrown open, and the hordes have rushed in.  As a result, the quantity of music has risen to choke the fiber cables and wi-fi networks encircling the globe, just as the quality has suffered a corresponding and predictable degradation.

KPRC listeners say no to fill-in host after one day.  Filling in for conservative talk-show host Michael Berry Tuesday morning, Houston lawyer Geoff Berg was direct with KPRC radio's listeners.  "I am a moderate," he announced.  "Michael is a right-wing fanatic.  We are going to disagree." … The station fired him after "one day of diverse opinion."

Radio Free America:  Sen. Dianne Feinstein and the liberal left have a problem with unfettered free speech on talk radio and are calling for government regulation.  Is it because in the marketplace of ideas they're bankrupt?

Hispanic Radio Hits Rough Wave.  These days the subprime mortgage meltdown has hit many Spanish-language radio stations hard.  Real estate companies that targeted the Hispanic community have closed their doors or cut back on advertising and sponsorships.

The Editor says...
I do not feel sorry for people who bought what they could not afford with money they can't pay back.

Liberal Talk Shows Held to Different Standard, Radio Host Says.  A popular left-wing talk show host claims liberal radio listeners are being denied the "fair market opportunity" their conservative counterparts receive, but a national media expert countered that the only standards any radio personality must meet are "ratings and revenue."

Radio 'Imbalance' Is In the Talent.  Rush Limbaugh, the conservative talk-radio pioneer, has been called many nasty things before, but never a "structural imbalance."  That's the fancy term a liberal think tank uses to characterize his success — and to dress up its proposal for counteracting that success through new government regulation.

Man of the Year:  Rush Limbaugh.  Rush Limbaugh's detractors never learn.  They've tried everything to come between Rush and his more than 20 million listeners, intending to destroy his appeal and impact.  But it's a hopeless, almost laughable endeavor.  They led boycotts against his advertisers — yet his show continues to generate more revenue than any other on radio.

HD Radio Grabs the Ear of Satellite Rivals.  Over the past few months, high-definition radio technology, which delivers clearer and crisper sound for over-the-air radio, has made inroads into the new-car market, a major battleground for audio entertainment.

Will Digital Radio Boom in U.S.?.  U.S. radio broadcasters are banking on HD Radio — which transmits digital signals over normal AM and FM bands — as a crucial weapon in their battle with satellite broadcasters.  But so far the response from listeners has been lukewarm.

[HD Radio, like AM stereo, is like putting a tuxedo on a pig.  It's still a pig.  Nobody cares about AM radio, except for the 50,000-watt powerhouse stations.  The rest of the signals are just clutter.  But this introduces another point:  AM radio still exists because extremely high sound quality is not that important.  How many people can tell the difference between the sound quality of an FM radio versus HD radio in a moving vehicle?]

Judge allows music industry to sue XM Satellite.  A judge has ruled that the music industry is free to go ahead with a lawsuit against XM Satellite Radio, the company accused of allowing customers to store songs without paying for them. … The record industry alleged in a civil suit filed in May that XM allows subscribers to listen to, store and replay songs as MP3 files.

800-Lb. Gorilla Slims Down To 750 Pounds.  [Clear Channel has] announced plans to sell off 448 of its 1,150 radio stations.  The stations now on the block are in 90 markets outside of Arbitron's top 100 metros.  Additionally, the San Antonio-based company is selling all 42 of its TV stations, which are located in 24 small and mid-sized markets.  Since it took advantage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act to super size its radio holdings, the company has been viewed — rightly or wrongly — as the poster child for all things wrong with the radio business.

Congress Urged to "Clean House" at FCC Over Profanity Ruling.  (Editor's Note:  The following contains references to language the reader may find offensive.)  A pro-family group is calling on Congress to "clean house" at the FCC.  The demand follows the FCC's ruling in October that the "f-word" does not violate the commission's obscenity standards.

Omitting Air America:  On July 26, bloggers busted open a brand-new talk radio scandal, and the hypocrisy was juicy:  The ultraliberal Air America radio network, the folks who would call themselves Compassion for the Poor Radio, had taken $875,000 from a children's charity as a "loan" that it hasn't paid back.  An Air America executive that also served as development director for the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club of the Bronx made a "diversion" of funds for the struggling leftists.

Radio host urges poor to loot.  In a broadcast yesterday [9/2/2005], Air America radio talk radio host Randi Rhodes repeatedly urged listeners in the hurricane-devastated Gulf Coast to go out and loot, insisting the poor should be allowed to steal goods at will.

 Editor's Note:   If the FCC deserves its continued existence, the radio stations carrying that message should have their licenses challenged at renewal time.  Radio stations exist, according to the Communications Act of 1934 as amended, to serve the "public interest, convenience and necessity," and statements of this sort, inciting an already lawless crowd to further violent felonies, are well outside the envelope of protected free speech.

Air America to Cease Broadcasting Immediately.  Air America, the progressive talk radio network, said Thursday [1/21/2010] that it would cease broadcasting immediately, bowing to what it called a "very difficult economic environment."

The Editor says...
Rush Limbaugh doesn't seem to be having trouble with a "very difficult economic environment."

FNC Keeps Rising, Air America Crashes.  On the same day Neilsen reported competition-dwarfing numbers for Fox News's coverage of the special election in Massachusetts on Tuesday night [1/19/2010], Air America radio declared bankruptcy and will cease live broadcasts immediately.

Why People Listen to Rush:  It's a simple law of economics, right?  If there's a demand for a certain service or good, that business has a strong shot at thriving.  Since the now-defunct Air America shut down for the last time earlier this year, the casual observer must conclude that no one wanted to hear left-wing diatribes over the broadcast airwaves.

The Broadcast Flag comes to radio...
Digital Radio Flag Archive.  Radio broadcasters have begun rolling out a new digital radio technology, known as "HD Radio," which piggybacks digital signals onto traditional analog FM and AM frequencies. … The recording industry sees the introduction of this new radio technology as an opportunity to renew their decades long effort to take away your right to make personal recordings off the air. … Led by the RIAA, the recording industry is particularly eager to make sure that there will never be a TiVo-like recorder for radio.

The $50 Billion New Socialist Media.  Robert W. McChesney, the socialist professor whose Free Press organization is leading the charge for the $50 billion transformation of the media, hosts a one-sided, tax-supported radio program sponsored by the University of Illinois that could serve as a model for the "New Public Media" the group has envisioned for America.  As Accuracy in Media was the first to disclose, McChesney recently introduced Obama's anti-American pastor Jeremiah Wright at a celebration of the socialist publication Monthly Review.  Wright praised Marxism and called America "land of the greed and home of the slave."

Did someone mention the "Reverend" Jeremiah Wright?

Galveston radio station leases airtime to Chinese.  Unable to dial in enough financial support from advertisers, owners of KGBC radio have leased all the station's airtime to one of China's state-owned media companies, ending a yearlong effort at local programming.  The sudden format switch killed local shows and surprised and disappointed loyal listeners and a few advertisers.

The Editor says...
Personally, if I owned a money-losing radio station, I would shut the station down and sell its remains before I'd sell air time to Chinese commies.  But here's the good news:  The commies are wasting their money and don't even know it.  Keep reading.

Tune in to Chinese station, but not in Houston.  China Radio International bought "a pig in a poke" when it leased a Galveston radio station in January that network officials mistakenly believed broadcast to the Houston market, according to a former China Radio International employee.  "It was the dumbest thing they could have ever done," said Mark Shorey, a consultant at CRI headquarters in Beijing before his resignation last month.  "CRI believes that they are broadcasting in Houston and continue to announce this fact on the air and on their Web site."

How Taxpayer-Funded Broadcasting Is "Surging" Left Under Democrats.  The Democratic takeover of Congress in 2007 quickly made one definitive change in the national media infrastructure. ... In previous years with Democratic control of Congress, PBS has played a more activist role within the media, dragging the rest of the national media further to the left and spurring more aggression and ill will against conservative and Republican leaders.  Just as 2007 has been a year for a "surge" of troops in Iraq, it's also been a year of "surging" activism within PBS.

FCC Chair Cites 'Spectrum Crisis'.  Addressing "America's Mobile Broadband Future" Wednesday, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said there is a "looming spectrum crisis' and he then went on to offer some solutions to the crisis.  Speaking at a telecommunications industry meeting in San Diego, Genachowski underscored the growing spectrum crunch by noting that in recent years the FCC has authorized a three-fold increase in commercial spectrum while many observers have anticipated a thirty-fold jump in wireless traffic.

The Editor says...
There is no "Spectrum Crisis."  Earlier this year, hundreds of analog TV stations (occupying six megahertz of bandwidth each) went off the air.  If that didn't open up a bunch of VHF and UHF spectrum space, what purpose did it serve?

Leftist Church Leaders vs. Free Speech.  The war on conservative speech has moved from the White House to your neighborhood pews.  Left-wing church leaders want the Federal Communications Commission to crack down on "hate speech" over cable TV and right-leaning talk-radio airwaves.  President Obama's speech-stifling bureaucrats seem all too happy to oblige.

Electric Car Manufacturers Remove AM Radios Claiming Safety Concerns.  Some electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers are scrapping the AM radio from their cars, claiming safety concerns.  Although conservative talk radio dominates AM radio ratings, it is also considered a critical safety tool, as it is one of the primary ways that federal, state, and local officials communicate with the public during natural disasters and other emergencies.  Automakers such as Ford and Tesla have ditched the AM radio from their newer EV models, arguing that the motors on EVs interfere with AM frequencies, creating buzzing and signal fading, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.  But former emergency officials are warning that scrapping the AM radio would mean EV drivers could miss important safety alerts.

The Editor says...
I worked in broadcasting for 48 years, so I have some opinions.  [#1] This is exactly the kind of radio interference that the FCC was created to prevent.  [#2] If you can't listen to AM radio in your car because of all the interference, what does that do to the car behind you?  I'll have to keep my car radio tuned to an empty AM frequency, e.g., 530 kHz, to see if I can hear electric cars as they pass by.  [#3] If the AM radio is a safety issue, why isn't the FM radio a hazard, too?  Perhaps the primary "danger" of AM radio is conservative talk shows, and the EV manufacturers have found a way to censor it.  [#4] Hardly anybody listens to AM radio any more; not like they used to.  AM radio was king, until about 1974, when FM radios started appearing in cars.  Then FM really took off.  The death of AM radio was delayed for about 20 years by Rush Limbaugh, but now it's on the way out again.  In the event of a storm, anybody who's hungry for government "information" and "protection" will turn on their TV — which will probably already be on, because they never turn it off — and in the case of the storm chasers and weather nuts, they'll either listen to ham radio channels or tune to the robotic announcer of NOAA Weather Radio for an endless series of alert tones and dire warnings.  In the middle of a thunderstorm, you won't hear much on AM radio.

Mark Levin Criticizes Automakers Dropping AM Radio.  Major automakers are removing AM radios from their new models in a move that heralds the end of an era, sparking outrage from listeners, station owners, and politicians alike who lament the potential loss of an iconic part of American culture and criticize the move as "tone deaf."  Mark Levin commented on the change, saying: "The automobile is essential to liberty.  It's freedom.  So the control of the automobile is about the control of your freedom.  They finally figured out how to attack conservative talk radio."  The Washington Post reports that in a move that marks the end of an era, major automakers are disconnecting AM radios from their new models.  The rapid pace of technological advancement and shifting consumer preferences has caused AM radio, once the soundtrack of America's road trips, and more recently the home of conservative radio giants like Rush Limbaugh, to become obsolete.

The Editor says...
Perhaps a law similar to the All-Channel Receiver Act could be passed, requiring radio manufacturers to include AM tuners.  The AM stations are licensed by the government, and the frequencies on which they operate have been set aside for broadcasting, so the extinction of AM receivers would mean that all AM radio stations would be a waste of electricity.  (More so than they are already.)  Yes, AM radio is unfashionable, and it doesn't work as well as it once did, due to overcrowded frequencies and a higher noise floor than we had 50 years ago, but if we're going to get rid of AM radio, let's vote on it first.  (Also, if we must have ethanol in gasoline, let's vote on it first.  If we must have low-flow toilets, let's vote on it first.  If we must do away with coal and natural gas, let's vote on it first.)

Ford Reverses Plan to Drop AM Radios in 2024 Cars, Trucks, and SUVs: Will Restore on Two Previous Models.  Ford announced Tuesday it has reversed plans to cut AM radios from most of its new vehicles starting in 2024, with car, truck and SUV owners all benefitting from the decision.  The manufacturer will also restore AM on two electric vehicles from 2023.  CEO Jim Farley used social media to confirm the company is walking back a decision to scrub the radio band after speaking with government policy leaders concerned about keeping emergency alerts that often are sounded on AM stations.  "We've decided to include it on all 2024 Ford and Lincoln vehicles," Farley wrote on Twitter and LinkedIn.  "For any owners of Ford's EVs without AM broadcast capability, we'll offer a software update."  [Tweet]

The Editor says...
If enabling the AM radio is just a "software upgrade," that means the AM receiver was in there all along, but it was disabled.  In other words, Ford decided to prevent you from listening to the AM band, but they'll turn it on if you insist.  This "upgrade" should cost you nothing, if all they're doing is resetting a code in the radio.

The Fairness Doctrine

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Updated May 26, 2023.

©2023 by Andrew K. Dart