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July 2, 2015 1:53 pm  #1

What's (With) The Frequency, Kenneth?

This won’t be of interest to most here, but I’m sure there are a few tech geeks who can answer something that’s always bugged me: Why are AM frequencies in North America spaced at 10 Khz while in Europe they settled on 9 degree spacing?
This has never made any real sense to me – unless it was supposed to mean they could squeeze a few more stations into the extra space. Still, until the modern era most places in the so-called “old country” (sidebar question: does that mean they call Canada the “new country” or is that just a format brand for KX96?) had strictly government controlled radio outlets and there weren’t that many stations licensed in the first place, hence the growth of the "Radio Caroline" pirates of the world.
Nine Khz spacing also means stations ended up with weird frequencies, like the BBC’s Radio 5 at 909 on AM or Premier Radio in London, which is located at 1132 on the dial. Maybe it just sounds odd to these ears because they’ve been raised on what we have here, but it sure sounds like a mouthful. Imagine 1052 CHUM or Oldies 1158. Just doesn’t have the same ring. In the end, it just seems easier and cleaner to do it by 10s.
Similarly, Europe opted for 100 Khz separation of FM stations instead of 200, which is why some of their FMers are on even numbered frequencies – something that can’t happen here.
I’ve always been curious about why the two continents arranged it so differently.


July 2, 2015 3:02 pm  #2

Re: What's (With) The Frequency, Kenneth?

People in Europe are highly educated and many can speak a minimum of three languages.  Here in North America we're all dumb as posts and can't even speak English properly.  Math?  Now there's an insurmountable problem for those living on this side of the pond.  The average person here can barely count to ten.  That explains the jump in frequencies by 10.  If it were done in 9's NO ONE would have a clue how to find a radio station let alone what it was.  [or is.]

Let's try this out here.  What comes next?  10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 and the next number is ___?
I'll bet 2 out of every 3 people here would say "uh...ummm...90?"  And they'd be right.

But ask about 9, 18, 27, 36, 45, 54, 63 ,72, 81 and the next number is___?  Now only 1 out of 14 would finally um and uh their way to a 90.  The rest would be too embarrassed and would disappear never to post again.  AM stations would disappear from the dial.  So would the dial as most wouldn't be able to read it.

So, then, the short answer is...We're just too gall darned dumb.

Last edited by Old Codger (July 2, 2015 3:02 pm)