FM Radio - what's it like in your area?

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J. PUPSTER

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IIRC an '03 Forester is a pretty manly man car. My transport is just the opposite, a little 2012 Mazda 3, hatch back. It handles great going around curves fast, approx 30 MPG and better acceleration than expected. Bought new in 2013 it has not quite 50k miles on it so I imagine it will be the last car I have.

But the factory sound is not good. No matter what I do to the bass/treble it is either boomy & muddy, or shrill & harsh. Take your pick. CD/AM/FM & analog mini jack for phone. It does Bluetooth playback from phone but that just sounds even worse. As I said earlier I'm not much of a casual listener anymore so usually it's just me & my thoughts.

In olden days I had a new '77 Lincoln Mercury Capri hatch back. Memory can be kind to things but I remember it having quite good sound, for the time period. Craig stereo 8 track in the glove box. Factory speakers in the front doors but to the players rear output I had two, KLH 8" 2 way speakers in the rear hatch area. Hooked up a la Hafler. Careful adjustment of balance made it a great listening experience. Until a passenger blocks the right front speaker.

Oh, & the most fun thing about tape play back was that it didn't fade out like radio going through tunnels...
Spooky SW, my first car was a 1974 Mercury Capri (I believe they were made for Ford out of Germany IINM) got it off a used car lot in Omaha after a tornado dented the front end from a flying 2x4 (big discount!) But man that thing turned into a POS needing constant maintenance. I had some kind of radio/cassette deck in it that played well though. Drove it home from the service in '78 all the way down I-80 from Omaha to Sac. all alone and couldn't have survived it without the cassette player. Of course radio was almost non-existent with so much empty land out west. Mainly listened to a rip I did of Eric Clapton concerts recorded off the radio KBFH onto a TEAC R2R and then onto the cassette.
 

Sonik Wiz

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Spooky SW, my first car was a 1974 Mercury Capri (I believe they were made for Ford out of Germany IINM) got it off a used car lot in Omaha after a tornado dented the front end from a flying 2x4 (big discount!) But man that thing turned into a POS needing constant maintenance. I had some kind of radio/cassette deck in it that played well though. Drove it home from the service in '78 all the way down I-80 from Omaha to Sac. all alone and couldn't have survived it without the cassette player. Of course radio was almost non-existent with so much empty land out west. Mainly listened to a rip I did of Eric Clapton concerts recorded off the radio KBFH onto a TEAC R2R and then onto the cassette.
Spooky? How about even spookier... my dad bought me my 1st two cars. But the 1st car I got with my own income was.... a 1974 Capri. Silver. My 2nd car was a '76 Capri because I liked the other one so much. Rack & pinion steering, McPherson strut, disc brakes. These were quite rare on American cars back then. Compared to my previous Camaro & Firebird this car just felt like it was driving itself. I should point out that I leased, not purchased these. Back then for 1st & last months rent, plus $2k you would get back after returning if no damage, a person could drive away in a new car. Good choice for someone starting out on their own with little cash flow.

I met my future wife in '75 at a Valentines Day party. When we, uh, left to go to my place (she was a bit tipsy haha) she kept asking why are we taking her car? And variations on that. Turns out she also had a '74 Capri. Green.

Between your the Capri's & both of us working in a photo labs before I wonder what else we have in common in the past?

Edit: My Capri's were excellent, reliable performers. No maintenance headaches. But that is an advantage when you get the car new & only keep a few years.
 
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abby normal

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hybrid FM is a godsend for those of us who want enhanced sound quality and NO COMMERCIALS for FREE! if only hybrid AM could have worked, the little that i heard of it is that it was not allowed to succeed [not enough RF power allotted for it to have any range at all].
 

Owen Smith

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The government had a plan to switch off FM in favour of the ghastly DAB system at one time but thankfully it seems to have been forgotten.
BBC FM is indeed great in the UK, great sound quality and good reception most places. But the theory about switching off in favour of DAB will come back, just things have been rather busy with Brexit and covid. The trouble is the FM broadcast gear is getting rather old and at some point the BBC need to decide whether to spend money replacing it all. Given BBC 4 on TV is to become just a repeats channel at the end of this year and other pressures on the BBC's budget, they'd have to be sure of being able to operate it for decades to come. And that's where politics and discussion about the future of the licence fee come in.
 

Soundfield

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BBC FM is indeed great in the UK, great sound quality and good reception most places. But the theory about switching off in favour of DAB will come back, just things have been rather busy with Brexit and covid. The trouble is the FM broadcast gear is getting rather old and at some point the BBC need to decide whether to spend money replacing it all. Given BBC 4 on TV is to become just a repeats channel at the end of this year and other pressures on the BBC's budget, they'd have to be sure of being able to operate it for decades to come. And that's where politics and discussion about the future of the licence fee come in.
Not the BBC's problem anymore! All of the BBC and IBA transmission facilities went through a series of sell offs and mergers over the past twenty years, effectively that legacy infrastructure is all now owned by the private company Arqiva. Practically all UK terrestrial TV and Radio broadcasters rent their transmission capability from them.
 

jaybird100

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It's a sad state of affairs in South Florida. At the low end of the dial, there's a lot of "fire and brimstone" in both English and Spanish. There are two college stations, one from the University of Miami, and one from Nova Southeastern. Our NPR station also gives us classical music on their HD2 channel, otherwise the usual NPR fare. On the commercial side of the 88-92 side, lots of Spanish, one country station, at least three CHR stations, three stations aimed at the Black market, only one album rock station, two adult-contemporary stations, and one that does pseudo-oldies. That's why I listen mostly to satellite radio in the car. More variety, no commercials on the music channels.
 

soesbeout

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I had Sirius XM in my car when I bought it years ago, but it sounded horrible to me. I used to listen to it through my system at home when I got it for free through Dish, and it sounded very good. I especially liked the Deep Tracks channel.
I took a cross country trip Florida to Oregon a few years ago and was glad I had Sirius in the Eclipse great Rockford-Fosgate system in those.
 

Gimme 4

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Around DFW there are basically two stations I can tolerate, 91.7 "KXT" (or KKXT per the FCC) which plays "A music format with a mix of acoustic, alt-country, indie rock, alternative and world music". Problem I have with it is all that is mixed up into a conglomeration where I hear something really good followed by some whiny singer songwriter wailing away. So once in a while I'll catch something interesting there but I don't hang around for long.

The other is listener supported 89.3 KNON "Community Radio Station" which has the Lone Star Dead show Lone Star Dead Radio Home featuring anything Grateful Dead, every Friday night for 38 years, since 1983.


So... I do it myself!
fmtrans1.jpg


One of these transmitters on low power 100 mW gets me a full quieting signal around the house and out in the garage. With the help of a Berringer compressor-limiter and a little bit of EQ it sounds better than anything else on the air.

EDIT: How could I forget KNTU 88.1 "The One for Jazz" owned by University of North Texas, used to be North Texas State University "NTU". They play some good stuff there.
 
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Owen Smith

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Not the BBC's problem anymore! All of the BBC and IBA transmission facilities went through a series of sell offs and mergers over the past twenty years, effectively that legacy infrastructure is all now owned by the private company Arqiva. Practically all UK terrestrial TV and Radio broadcasters rent their transmission capability from them.
So Arquiva will quote an arm and a leg to replace the FM broadcast equipment with increased rent, which the BBC won't be able to afford to pay. Or Arquiva will grumble to Ofcom who will pull the strings of their friends in government.

This isn't going away. It is government policy to do a digital switchover from FM to DAB. It is too embarrassing to admit that DAB was a mistake, even worse in the UK because we're stuck with mostly MP2 audio because we deployed DAB so early (most of the rest of the world uses DAB+ which has AAC audio).

Remember that to get an FM licence you have to actually apply to Ofcom for a DAB licence and you get the legacy FM thrown in grudgingly. This happened to Classic FM the last time they had to renew their broadcast licence.
 

DuncanS

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A lot of the commercial UK DAB channels are actually Mono (!!), I listen to Planet Rock a lot, and its mono on DAB but stereo on the internet. The BBC FM broadcasts are of a much better quality, shame they don't play a lot of the music I like, Radio 6 does but that is DAB only.
 

Owen Smith

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A lot of the commercial UK DAB channels are actually Mono (!!), I listen to Planet Rock a lot, and its mono on DAB but stereo on the internet. The BBC FM broadcasts are of a much better quality, shame they don't play a lot of the music I like, Radio 6 does but that is DAB only.
BBC Radio 6 has an internet stream as well as being on DAB.
 

Soundfield

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This isn't going away. It is government policy to do a digital switchover from FM to DAB. It is too embarrassing to admit that DAB was a mistake, even worse in the UK because we're stuck with mostly MP2 audio because we deployed DAB so early (most of the rest of the world uses DAB+ which has AAC audio).
Maybe eventually, but thankfully governments and policies change, notably it was delayed yet again only last year by the DCMS until at least 2032...

July 2020 - DAB Switchover Delayed

A recent parliamentary report into the subject was also very critical of the whole idea. Who knows what might happen in the next decade?!
 
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Owen Smith

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Maybe eventually, but thankfully governments and policies change, notably it was delayed yet again only last year by the DCMS until at least 2032...

July 2020 - DAB Switchover Delayed
I'd missed that news, thanks! The closure of the a516digital web site has resulted in it being harder to find broadcast related news.

And with a 2032 date, by then I should have changed my car. At present I'm reliant on FM in the car, whereas I have DAB and internet as well at home.
 

gvl_guy

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Most radio is garbage these days. But people still listen.... almost exclusively in their cars. Me? I find the HD-2 & 3 channels on most stations in my area to have much better programming, usually with no (or few) commercials. That doesn't help me at home, though. Receivers, especially vintage ones, can't pick them up. Plus, so many of the big radio conglomerates are cutting back on engineering staff so it could be weeks or months to fix a problem that happens on the HD-2 and 3. I've experienced that several times, even when I called to tell them about the problem.
 

mlrocker

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FM does not enter my listening sphere. I primarily stream youtube in my car. Currently focusing on Sleaford Mods, and Deadbolt. ...and Eddie Trunk's shows.
 

Soundfield

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US radio sounds pretty bleak. Do you not have plays, documentaries, comedy shows, panel games, live concerts, book readings, arts reviews, investigative journalism, supported young musicians, music festivals, in-house orchestras? Please tell me there’s live cricket!
 

Sonik Wiz

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US radio sounds pretty bleak. Do you not have plays, documentaries, comedy shows, panel games, live concerts, book readings, arts reviews, investigative journalism, supported young musicians, music festivals, in-house orchestras? Please tell me there’s live cricket!
In general things are quite dismal. That's what happens when this is driven by demographics & driven by $$ profit. Now there might be some general changes between where I live, Kansas City MO area, and say Boston. Lots of country western music here no live musical performances here as it might be in a bigger city. But investigative journalism is left to TV or print, book readings have never been offered as far as I know, radio plays haven't been a big deal since the 40's when radio was dominant over TV. In fact the last radio play I heard was the 1980-something Hitchhiker's Guide by the BBC, presented on American airwaves by National Public Radio. NPR is an alternative bright spot in radio but even now variety has dwindled over the years.

What's cricket?🤭
 
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