Fear of Mono

Around and about radio enthusiast sites and mass debating pits I notice there continues this horror and fear of mono.

Why are (radio anorak type) people so scared of mono?

Just because you can broadcast in stereo on FM it doesn’t mean you have to, does it? If your programme content doesn’t actually need to be in stereo because it’s just voices, mainly on the phone or ‘down the line’, then what’s wrong with broadcasting in mono?


And yet, there’s a mass suicide and panic by foaming anoraks herding themselves up to the top of multi-storey car-parks ready to throw themselves off because a station has dared to switch to mono. Case in point: LBC 97.3 in London, a radio station that is speech only and plays no music whatsoever, and so has no need to be in stereo.

The owners of LBC are talking about providing similar stations in other areas (such as Manchester) and only broadcasting in mono on FM. Again, there are anoraks acting like rabid dogs over this announcement. I don’t get it. Why does this upset anoraks so much? Foaming at the mouth they are.

I remember decades ago anoraks calling a London pirate I was on berating the fact that we were in mono whilst most other pirates of the day were in stereo. This annoyed the engineer so much that he fitted a tone generator in line to light the stereo lights in the whinging anoraks’ receivers. We were still actually and completely in mono, nothing had changed, but the foaming anoraks were suddenly happy and stopped whinging because their stereo light was on. Indeed, one said we were much clearer and a far better listen. Pathetic.

I don’t get this need to waste bandwidth unnecessarily. If the programme content doesn’t need stereo, then don’t be in stereo. If the programme content is designed to be consumed in places where it doesn’t need to be high quality, then let it be low quality.

Yet, all the time, these foaming anoraks are giving themselves coronaries because stations aren’t wasting bandwidth just to please them and their obscure unnecessary quality demands.

Shouldn’t they actually listen to and try to enjoy the content of the radio stations instead of worrying about matters technical that no ordinary listener cares two hoots about?