Growing up in the sixties and early seventies, it was my preferred form of media, and the source of most of the music I listened to. I must have been about nine years old when I got a portable radio in a blue plastic casing for Christmas. It could pick up both AM and FM stations, but in the small town in the part of Southern Arizona where I lived, we were too far away to pick up any FM signals. It did pick up the stronger stations from Tucson, including a couple of them that played “rock” and a few stations in some of the surrounding towns, mostly country music. The night air carried signals from more powerful stations on the West Coast, and from the Midwest. In the daytime, I’d switch back and forth between AM stations in Tucson, but at night, I could go from KOMA in Oklahoma City, to WOAI in San Antonio, to KFI in Los Angeles, with a swift twist of the fingers.
But it wasn’t long before FM radio began taking over the airwaves. By the time I went off to college, there were several FM stations in nearby towns, and even one in my hometown. AM had strong signals, but they couldn’t duplicate the sharp sound of an FM signal, and a lot of people, including in the radio business itself, thought that the day of AM radio was over. Continue reading →