Will the foamers force AM transmitters to stay on?

How will the BBC protect itself from the mad protesting brigade of foamers?  They are highly organised and have networks barking out to letters pages in the Daily Mail, or screaming via the internet about how shocked and outraged they are.

Let me explain.  Firstly, quite rightly, a lot of the BBC local radio stations occupy just one analogue broadcasting band, FM, and of course DAB.  Virtually no BBC local radio station has a valid reason for duplicating its broadcasts on the AM band.  The number of listeners on FM/DAB is negligible, the number listening via AM is almost undetectable.  AM transmitters are extremely costly to run, and so as part of a cost cutting experiment, the BBC have removed regular programming from the pointless AM transmitters of BBC Radios Kent, Lincolnshire, Merseyside, and Nottingham.

Until September 24th the AM transmitters are carrying re-tuning advice, pointing listeners to FM, DAB and the webstreams, and then spending extended periods switched off.

Traditionally, the only time people have bothered to tune to AM is when a commentary has been made available to a local sporting event, such as a football match.  In Merseyside the two main football teams, Liverpool and Everton, sometimes play at the same time, and so this is dealt with by having the commentary for one match on FM, and for the other on AM and DAB.  Similar arrangements occur on the other stations.

However, it is outside of the commentary times that the duplication becomes pointless.  Those that are listening, are choosing FM or DAB.

The BBC costs far too much money and has been told to cut down its expenditure.  This is but one of the ideas. Another idea which I highly approve of is to greatly reduce the amount of pointless general music programming. It makes more sense to have just one national English programme outside of peak times, rather than loads of expensive to make local programming that nobody is listening to.  I’ve talked about this before here.

But, how much real feedback will the AM transmitter switch-off truly get?  The foamers will hijack the experiment with their shock and outrage campaigns.  Bizarrely, they will use the internet and modern technology to campaign to save a technology that should have been switched off decades ago.

One comment

  1. Rodger Dee: just curious, is it only you that is allowed to have a valid opinion? just as a point of interest either CQuam or DRM will give significantly better quality and coverage than D.A.B. 😉 but hey! as a “sad anorak” I would be blissfully pleased to see the BBC and ILR stations vacate the AM broadcast frequencies! I know quite a few folks in Wales who would be left with nothing to listen to though 😉

    Keiron Fox: AM travels further, is more reliable, and dab is a far from totally supported platform, and asides from that there are net technologies which are going to overtake it drastically quite soon. They already exist on the move in platforms like 'tune-in radio' for mobile phones and tablets, they can be plugged into car stereos easily and coverage is global! … So Leave things working that aren't broken. When they are then change, but the time is not right. As I say, those that rush into dab will rue the day.

    Keiron Fox: Dab's reception distances and audio quality levels are at best poor and at worst bubbling nonsense.

    Rodger Dee: most of them seem to have given up on D.A.B. looking at the number of receivers in our local tip!

    Keiron Fox: Chris I dare you to copy and paste the right of replies on here on your website. Till then consider carefully what you print. There's more opinion than just yours in the country!


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