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Radio News in October 2007

Citadel suspends nighttime digital AM transmissions

Citadel logoCitadel Broadcasting, the third largest radio group in the United States, has decided to suspend digital nighttime broadcasts on the AM band because of interference problems. Interviewed by DXing.info, Citadel Director of Engineering Martin Stabbert says that digital IBOC broadcasting will continue on Citadel's FM stations, as well on the AM stations during daytime, but nighttime AM broadcasts are suspended. Citadel stations were informed about the decision on Monday, October 1. Of a total of 66 AM stations owned by Citadel, roughly 20 had been broadcasting digitally overnights after it was allowed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on September 14.
     "We have received a number of comments, calls and emails involving several different stations," Stabbert says of the feedback concerning nighttime interference. He was however not surprised to learn about IBOC causing so much adjacent-channel interference. "I personally expected something, but didn't know to what extent it would be."
     Stabbert says that the suspension should not be interpreted as criticism towards iBiquity, the developer of IBOC. "We are just taking a step back. We need to evaluate our results and act on that," Stabbert says. Stabbert prefers not to comment on the future of IBOC on AM, but says that in his opinion, AM broadcasting would survive even without the introduction of "HD radio", as digital broadcasting has been branded in the United States. "I think AM is viable as it is," Stabbert says to DXing.info.
     Although several other AM stations in the U.S. have attempted to measure IBOC interference over the past couple of weeks by turning digital broadcasts repeatedly on and off, Citadel is the first major player to suspend IBOC for the moment. On various discussion forums DXers have welcomed Citadel's decision, expressing hopes that also other broadcasters will eventually find nighttime IBOC to be too destructive on the AM band. During the daytime interference is not an issue because of differences in signal propagation. DXers across the U.S. have been worried about the increased level of interference on the AM band since the introduction of nighttime digital broadcasting. The interference level is
expected to keep on rising further, effectively depriving many stations of a long-distance audience, if IBOC expansion on the AM band continues as originally planned.
     Information about Citadel's decision first appeared today on radio-info.com, based on a leaked internal memo.
(DXing.info, October 2, 2007)

KWWN Las Vegas and WZFN Dilworth MN testing on 1100 AM

KWWN is a new mediumwave station in Nevada, in the United States, testing since September 21 on the frequency of 1100 kHz AM. The station is owned by Lotus Broadcasting. The first tests have involved running an unmodulated carrier, to be followed by program tests any day now. The format of KWWN will be Hispanic sports, airing the Spanish ESPN network. Reception reports can be sent to Lotus Broadcasting, Chief Engineer Bill Croghan, 8755 West Flamingo Rd., Las Vegas, NV 89147, USA.
     Another new station on the same frequency is WZFN in Dilworth Minnesota. WFZN is licensed to broadcast at a power of 50 kW (daytime), 5 kW (critical hours) and 0.44 kW (nighttime) in the Fargo-Moorhead market. WZFN was first reported heard with country music programming on October 3 by DXer Shawn Axelrod in Manitoba, Canada. WZFN is owned by Alabama-based Brantley Broadcast Associates.
(DXing.info, October 2, 2007, updated on October 3)

The purpose of the radio news section is to inform about new mediumwave (AM) and shortwave broadcasting stations worldwide. Other news are published only on major international broadcasters or issues very relevant to DXers. New programs and schedules are not covered.

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