Q: What is “LOW POWER AM RADIO “?
A”? Briefly, low power AM radio is the marriage of old and new radio technologies. More specifically, the longtime tradition of listening to radio “over the air” on a traditional radio, versus the new trend of listening to audio over an internet stream on a personal computer or smartphone device. It’s radio in the traditional sense mated with the latest technology.
Q: What is “Part 15”, as described in your “About Us” page?
A: Part 15 refers to the FCC Federal Code of Regulation Title 47, Part 15 (47 CFR 15). This allows unlicensed transmission operations at the upper end of the AM radio dial, and at very low power levels, often called “micropower”. Under Part 15, no such station may broadcast a signal exceeding a power of 100 milliwatts. Devices such as personal computers, baby monitors, video game systems, wireless landline telephones and other consumer electronics all generate and use radio frequency energy and must be operated in a manner consistent with their manufacture in order to prevent the possibility of interference.
Q: What’s the difference between “Part 15” and “Pirate Radio”?
A: Pirate radio is just that…the irresponsible form of radio whose operators willfully disregard FCC rules and regulations, often using altered or otherwise unauthorized transmission equipment having the potential to cause harm to fully-licensed over-the-air radio stations, usually broadcasting on the same frequency as one licensed nearby and airing questionable program content that a responsible licensed station would likely be fined for. While we are not a licensed station in the traditional sense, we are still regulated by the FCC and subject to inspection to ensure that we are broadcasting within authorized power limits, and not airing content that would be considered questionable or otherwise ‘indecent.’ We make every effort to make sure that we are above board, and that our transmission signal stays within our assigned limits so as not to cause harm to our colleagues. Additionally, to air any indecent programming is inconsistent with our mission to serve the community to the best of our ability.
Q: Do you have plans to increase your power in the future?
A: There are no immediate plans for us to increase our transmission power or change our status from Part 15 to a fully-licensed facility, as we prefer to emphasize our internet-based audio stream over the traditional over-the-air signal. While a fully-licensed over-the-air signal would certainly be heard over a much greater distance, we would also be subject to a much higher cost of doing business, such as regulatory fees, increased electricity consumption, general transmitter maintenance and other costs too numerous to mention in this forum. By avoiding a much higher overhead, we’re able to keep our advertising rates low in order to stay competitive with other media, which in turn, allows small businesses to do so likewise among big-box counterparts.
Q: Are there “Part 15” rules for FM? If so, why don’t you broadcast on FM?
A: Yes, Part 15 rules do apply to FM. Part 15 FM transmitters are most commonly found in drive-in movie theaters today, using your car’s radio to receive the movie’s audio via an FM radio signal. However, despite FM’s clarity, there are much greater signal limitations to Part 15 FM, because FM radio waves operate on skywave (line-of-sight) rather than groundwave principle, as AM does. If you were to pull into your local drive-in movie theater and watch the movie with the audio heard on your car’s radio, then after the movie’s over, leave your radio tuned to the frequency you heard the movie’s audio on, you would hear the signal fade completely maybe a quarter of a mile away from the theater, if that. And again, because we are emphasizing our internet stream over our over-the-air signal, we prefer to focus on AM as the primary source of over-the-air reception, simply because the waves travel a greater distance.
Q: Are there radios available for purchase that can receive internet-based stations?
A: Yes! We’re glad you asked! Tabletop household radios capable of receiving internet radio have been produced in growing numbers each year. However, it must be noted that if you choose to invest in an internet radio (they’re not cheap), you must have wireless internet capability in your home or office in order to receive a signal. If you already have in-house wi-fi, then all you would have to buy is the receiver. For that, we strongly recommend the C. Crane Company, which sells the best over-the-air and Internet radios that money can buy. You pay a little more, but you receive a unit with state of the art circuitry far superior than anything you can find cheaper. You’ll hear the difference.
Q: With the growth in portable storage devices, does anyone listen to radio anymore?
A: We hear this a lot. The leading cause of why radio listeners defect to iPods, iPads and other music media is because of excessive commercials and tight playlists with constant song repetition. When you’re not hearing the same songs played to death over and over, you’re hearing endless commercials between them and mindless DJ chatter. Most radio stations rely on the advice of out-of-town consultants, but we are committed to Parkersburg, and the community, and if it’s good for Parkersburg, we want to cover it and tell others around town about the goings on of our great town full of nice people.
Q: Bigger stations stream they’re audio full-time. How do you compete with them?
A: To be clear, we’re NOT trying to compete with any radio station or any other nearby larger market with high-powered over-the-air signals. If that were the case, we would program our station using the same program concepts that they do, and the end result is a battle we would likely lose. We’re doing something they aren’t, we are airing only old
Time Radio Shows and our station unlike other AM radio stations runs 24/7 365 all day every day and yet shifting to another gear on weekends by playing local sports games with commentary by local folks who know sports and know Parkersburg. We also will be soliciting information from any and all Butler County-based groups and non-profit organizations having items of interest to the local community. Our station, because of its small size and business model, provides a service to a community that may or may not be large enough to support a traditional radio station, and we pride ourselves on that.
Q: Does retail business still advertise on the radio these days?
A: Certainly. The biggest advantage radio has over its competitors is that 70 percent of radio’s audience is mobile. That has always remained the constant, despite the growth of other media sources available today. Radio still remains able to deliver information in a timely fashion and to do so while the listener is actively engaging in something else…like keeping her eyes on the road. Radio still remains one of the lowest-priced advertising mediums there is, from the open commercial rate down to production costs. It should also be noted that our sales staff will never try to talk a potential client out of advertising in other media. As a small business ourselves, we know it’s important to not keep one’s media eggs (advertising dollars) in one basket, and our job is to help clients craft an advertising package specially tailored to their needs, thereby assuring the best possible value for their investment.