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June 11, 2020 7:42 am  #1


Never Heard AM Stereo? Here's Where You Still Can

I always regretted that when so many AM stations went stereo as listeners defected to FM, that I never had a radio capable of receiving it. I suspect I'm not alone. But now there's a virtual way to hear it, thanks to a station in, of all places, Ionia, Michigan. WION stubbornly clings to its AM stereo signal on 1430, and deliberately streams its output from an AM stereo radio. 

It's hard to tell online, but it sounds to me exactly like any other stream. Which, I suppose, is the point. I have no idea if anyone actually can hear them out of two separate speakers in their area of licence (conveniently, they also have an FM repeater) but they seem proud of staying with the technology. 

All this started because of a letter I read on the Radio World website that defends AM stereo and insists it still has a future.

Meanwhile if you want to hear the closest thing you can to AM stereo on the web, you can find it on the listen live link on the WION homepage. As for whether this technology will ever make a comeback, I wouldn't hold my breath. But it's interesting to note there are some who won't give up on it.

WION Homepage  

 

June 11, 2020 8:15 am  #2


Re: Never Heard AM Stereo? Here's Where You Still Can

I figured for sure it was WION, once I read your headline.  I check it out every so often.

I have a wideband AM Stereo tuner from Sony, that sounds great even on the mono signals around here, because of the tuner's 10 KHz response.
 


Cheers,
Jody Thornton
 
 

June 11, 2020 9:10 am  #3


Re: Never Heard AM Stereo? Here's Where You Still Can

Great music library, but they lost me when they went to CBS news instead of having their own local news room at 10 AM on a week-day. 
The music variety is very good but they were already starting to lose me when they failed to (at least) throw in a professionally sounding VT'd radio personality announcing names of songs and artists.

This station seems to be stuck in digital storage mode, which is such a shame. 

 

June 11, 2020 1:54 pm  #4


Re: Never Heard AM Stereo? Here's Where You Still Can

I heard CKEY (KEY-590) on an AM Stereo Radio and it sounded quite good. I think one of the problems was that there was no industry standard format-wise.

 


"The radio craze ... will soon fade." - Thomas Edison, 1922
 

June 11, 2020 2:20 pm  #5


Re: Never Heard AM Stereo? Here's Where You Still Can

Motorola C-Quam was the industry standard. I loved AM stereo. There are still a few stereo stations out there. Before Motorola was selected as the standard, I liked Kahn as you could use two radios to get stereo. Using WNBC as an example you set one radio to your left and tune the dial just slightly below 660. Set the other radio on your right and set that unit just slightly above 660 and you had AM stereo!

 

June 11, 2020 2:57 pm  #6


Re: Never Heard AM Stereo? Here's Where You Still Can

AM is to stereo as assless chaps is to Polish wedding cake

 

June 11, 2020 4:33 pm  #7


Re: Never Heard AM Stereo? Here's Where You Still Can

Tardis wrote:

I liked Kahn as you could use two radios to get stereo. Using WNBC as an example you set one radio to your left and tune the dial just slightly below 660. Set the other radio on your right and set that unit just slightly above 660 and you had AM stereo!

Lol. Fun from a geeky perspective, but obviously that would never become the standard.


 
 

June 11, 2020 7:50 pm  #8


Re: Never Heard AM Stereo? Here's Where You Still Can

The first car I bought was a 1987 Plymouth Horizon.  Pretty basic vehicle but it had an AM stereo radio in it.
820 CHAM and CKKW (in it's AM109 incarnation) were quite listenable. 

But I think it was the car radio manufacturers that Killed AM music.  In the 2000s I drove a GM vehicle whose radio was absolutely terrible on the AM band.  Sounds like they cut the high-end off at 5K.  I've heard telephones with better frequency response.  The FM band was great.  I knew it wasn't my hearing when I moved to a KIA whose stock radio handled AM much better, albeit in mono.
 

 

June 12, 2020 6:50 pm  #9


Re: Never Heard AM Stereo? Here's Where You Still Can

I had two Sony AM stereo receivers and made recordings on those. Here is a quick comp I did to highlight AM stereo. One of them may have been the same one as Jody as it had wide band AM

A quick disclaimer though. CHUM was also on cable FM and I may have recorded from that as well. I was always bouncing recordings from various sources so some of these may be second or even third gen but I am quite certain that The Youngbloods and Neil Diamond segments were off the AM stereo and not cable.. I have uploaded some of these to the site before.

1050 CHUM AM Stereo


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June 13, 2020 7:20 am  #10


Re: Never Heard AM Stereo? Here's Where You Still Can

Tardis wrote:

Motorola C-Quam was the industry standard. I loved AM stereo. There are still a few stereo stations out there. Before Motorola was selected as the standard, I liked Kahn as you could use two radios to get stereo. Using WNBC as an example you set one radio to your left and tune the dial just slightly below 660. Set the other radio on your right and set that unit just slightly above 660 and you had AM stereo!

Tardis I guess the two radio system was a work around if you did not have a multi system AM stereo receiver. I know that both my Sony receivers were multi-system capable but I am not sure if I listened to anything but C-Quam on them.. I have read about early AM stereo testing that they did using not only two different radios but two different frequencies. That was perhaps in the 1960's and earlier. Below is a You Tube recording of the Kahn/Hazeltine system from 1984 and only one receiver was needed. C- Quam eventually became the industry standard for AM stereo after  an initial start with four competing systems.




 


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June 13, 2020 10:51 am  #11


Re: Never Heard AM Stereo? Here's Where You Still Can

yes, a work-around or just a little bonus if you didn't want to buy a new radio i guess. WNBC actually put out a little note with its promo material that alerted me about this. I had two Sony AM stereo radios and 3 or 4 Chrysler AM stereo units. The Sony's unfortunately are long gone but i think i still have two Chrysler radios packed away somewhere. Thankfully i have a few AM stereo airchecks as well....

 

June 16, 2020 12:46 pm  #12


Re: Never Heard AM Stereo? Here's Where You Still Can

Found this in my collection of radio and TV detritus. It's an early look at who jumped on the AM Stereo bandwagon back in 1983. Only two Canadian stations listed for the Harris system - CJMS in Montreal and the Big 8 in Windsor.

https://i.ibb.co/4g0VMVK/AM-Stereo-Ad-August-1983.jpg

     Thread Starter
 

June 23, 2020 1:01 pm  #13


Re: Never Heard AM Stereo? Here's Where You Still Can

An American radio columnist has some thoughts about bringing back AM Stereo and notes there are many stations on the air that still use it.

A suggestion for how to save AM radio

     Thread Starter
 

June 23, 2020 1:14 pm  #14


Re: Never Heard AM Stereo? Here's Where You Still Can

RadioActive wrote:

An American radio columnist has some thoughts about bringing back AM Stereo and notes there are many stations on the air that still use it.

A suggestion for how to save AM radio

At first I thought you were linking to the Dick Taylor Blog. 
 


Cheers,
Jody Thornton
 
 

June 23, 2020 3:05 pm  #15


Re: Never Heard AM Stereo? Here's Where You Still Can

RadioActive wrote:

An American radio columnist has some thoughts about bringing back AM Stereo and notes there are many stations on the air that still use it.

A suggestion for how to save AM radio

Interesting that the article mentions that some US and four Australian stations are converting back to AM stereo. I guess there's no chance that AM 740 or CKDO may consider the same.

Also worth noting that the article mentions that many AM HD stations have turned off their HD and when I occasionally DX AM at night there's very little HD anymore. WCBS turned off their HD in the last six  months.

There's a link in the article to an AM stereo sample recorded off a Minneapolis station and that lead me to a page with more samples from the same station recorded with various AM stereo radios including Walkmans (and other portable recorders), AM stereo C-Quam capable HD receivers and other tuners. Samples are recorded in lossless digital files and give one a chance to listen to a service not available in this area.

WDGY AM Stereo


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