WWFD 820 AM Becomes First All-Digital AM Station
|RADIO ONLINE | Monday, July 16, 2018|
In Washington DC, WWFD 820 AM The Gamut will be the first full time, all-digital AM radio station in the U.S. In an effort to keep up with the ever-evolving demand for digital, The Gamut will be turning off its analog signal and will no longer be accessible through regular AM radio beginning today, Monday, July 16 at noon. This announcement comes as a result of a collaborative effort between The Gamut and HD Radio, an Xperi Corporation brand, to give AM broadcasters parity in the car dashboard with FM HD Radio, satellite and internet streaming, among others.
"My belief is that AM needs to start trending in this direction," said Dave Kolesar, the station's engineer and program director. "We're excited to be doing this extremely innovative project that has tremendous potential to make AM much more viable to distribute all formats."
"Since the launch of HD Radio technology, Xperi has been committed to serving the current and future needs of terrestrial radio broadcasters," said Joe D'Angelo, SVP broadcast radio, Xperi. "Hubbard's decision to convert to all-digital operations illustrates the industry's continued commitment to over-the-air broadcasting and a long future for broadcast radio. With twenty percent of the vehicles on the road in the listening area equipped with an HD Radio receiver, the time couldn't be better for an all-digital trial."
The conversion to all-digital is primarily expected to provide listeners with better sound quality and include new display features such as artist name, song title and even album artwork.
Over the past few decades, issues like poor sensitivity and technical upkeep, quality of receivers and narrow audio bandwidth have contributed to the steady decrease in AM radio listenership. On July 6, The Gamut received an Experimental Authorization from the FCC to broadcast their AM station exclusively in digital.
This conversion to all-digital now opens the door to a new audience for The Gamut and is an opportunity for an enhanced in-vehicle AM experience.
The Gamut will still be accessible to listeners in Frederick, Maryland without HD Radio, who can find the station on regular analog FM at 94.3 FM.