sowny.net | The Southern Ontario/WNY Radio-TV Forum


You are not logged in. Would you like to login or register?

January 18, 2022 11:24 am  #1


Why No AM Station Antennas On The CN Tower?

As the subject line states, would someone please tell me why there are no AM station antennas on the CN Tower?  Were there ever any?  Thanks in advance!


- Not an industry person.  Just a guy with a love of Toronto radio. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/cute.gif
 

January 18, 2022 11:29 am  #2


Re: Why No AM Station Antennas On The CN Tower?

Because AM transmitters/signals work different...  Not to get over technical but they require many towers if directional to direct the signal, as well as a ground plane to correctly send signals out.    With AM, the tower height isn't as important, where FM and TV require height, so that's why FM and TV are on the CN Tower and not AM broadcasters. 

Very over simplified... but hopefully not confusing.  

Last edited by radiokid (January 18, 2022 11:29 am)

 

January 18, 2022 11:42 am  #3


Re: Why No AM Station Antennas On The CN Tower?

Still wonder if any HD radio plans are being implemented on the tower.

 

January 18, 2022 11:55 am  #4


Re: Why No AM Station Antennas On The CN Tower?

Thanks, radiokid!  Yes, I understand.

Last edited by Leslieville Bill (January 18, 2022 11:57 am)


- Not an industry person.  Just a guy with a love of Toronto radio. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/cute.gif
     Thread Starter
 

January 18, 2022 12:38 pm  #5


Re: Why No AM Station Antennas On The CN Tower?

markow202 wrote:

Still wonder if any HD radio plans are being implemented on the tower.

To my knowledge Virgin (99.9) is doing HD off the tower, but not from the master antenna. 

I would assume as they replace the master antenna, it will be put in as HD compatible and stations will start moving to it.    CBC Radio 1 is a great example of improvement moving to HD.  Zero static now  (but they are from First Canadian) 

HD on most stations is farly affortable to install, but the sticking point for the master antenna at the CN Tower is the age and filters involved.   Very expensive to replace and is required to be replaced to make HD work.  There was planned work pre-covid to start the process of replacement to my knowledge, but I can only assume that has been put on hold.   Jazz FM, and CHIN I can see really benefiting from HD.  Not sure if Corus, Bell and Rogers are in the same headspace on it.   

Last edited by radiokid (January 18, 2022 12:49 pm)

 

January 18, 2022 1:21 pm  #6


Re: Why No AM Station Antennas On The CN Tower?

As radiokid mentioned there is no great height advantage to put an AM antenna on the CN tower.

Due to the lower frequency, the wavelength from an AM station is much longer. Of course the CN tower has plenty of length, I would think that an antenna would have to mounted to its side at the proper length to match the wavelength of the radiated frequency, not very practical. Also the RF energy coming off the antenna could play havoc with close by electrical systems. Most AM stations are directional and need several towers precisely spaced apart to create the directional pattern, in short the need a lot of land area.

 

January 18, 2022 9:07 pm  #7


Re: Why No AM Station Antennas On The CN Tower?

The vertical portion of a standard series-fed AM tower is only half of the antenna. The other half is the ground system, which is typically half a wavelength long and made up of 120-180 buried copper radials. You can't do that around the CN Tower, and you wouldn't want an AM station there, anyway - you want them in wet, swampy areas, which is why the best TO AM signals come from places like the edges of the island or across the lake. 

Also, the elevators going up and down would have an electrical effect on an antenna, even if it's a wire stood off from the side of the tower itself. 

 

January 18, 2022 9:36 pm  #8


Re: Why No AM Station Antennas On The CN Tower?

radiokid wrote:

Not sure if Corus, Bell and Rogers are in the same headspace on it.   

There is no reason for any of them to move to HD. The cost, even if modest, isn't recovered by any increase in revenue.
 


 
 

January 19, 2022 12:08 pm  #9


Re: Why No AM Station Antennas On The CN Tower?

RadioAaron wrote:

radiokid wrote:

Not sure if Corus, Bell and Rogers are in the same headspace on it.   

There is no reason for any of them to move to HD. The cost, even if modest, isn't recovered by any increase in revenue.
 

Long live Master FM  

 

January 20, 2022 8:01 pm  #10


Re: Why No AM Station Antennas On The CN Tower?

markow202 wrote:

RadioAaron wrote:

radiokid wrote:

Not sure if Corus, Bell and Rogers are in the same headspace on it.   

There is no reason for any of them to move to HD. The cost, even if modest, isn't recovered by any increase in revenue.
 

Long live Master FM  

Even in other markets where the conversion would be less complicated, it's not happening. Once the AMs are on HD and the auto-maker deals fulfilled, there's not much point for a full-power station to add HD.
 


 
 

January 20, 2022 8:41 pm  #11


Re: Why No AM Station Antennas On The CN Tower?

RadioAaron wrote:

markow202 wrote:

RadioAaron wrote:

There is no reason for any of them to move to HD. The cost, even if modest, isn't recovered by any increase in revenue.
 

Long live Master FM  

Even in other markets where the conversion would be less complicated, it's not happening. Once the AMs are on HD and the auto-maker deals fulfilled, there's not much point for a full-power station to add HD.
 

Not sure I agree...  Canada is way behind....  Multi-cultural stations in particular really have jumped on the HD technology because of being able to split up their signal into 4 different streams on FM, as most programming is brokered.   People don't care if they don't know...  They also don't care when it's complicated.    CBC Radio 1, Z1035, AM 530, and Elimnt are all great examples of easy for the listener.     No real effort required to figure things out.   Tune to the regular signal you always have, and it just becomes much clearer if you have HD.   With AM 530, Z1035, and CBC it's very noticeable when HD flips over as it really cleans up their signals.     The Master FM antenna system does not last forever and will need to be replaced, so I don't think they would be doing any change to just do HD, but they are hardly going to spend money to upgrade without that in mind.    

It's funny how the FM use to be that new thing that no one would want or need or care about...  It's weird how somethings never change with attitudes towards new things in this business by some.   I also remember being told "streaming would never take off"...  Wow that sure backfired.    Evolution is required for survival in this business.  Transition requires time, effort and attitude.  Standing still in yesterday, will only mean dealth. 

Last edited by radiokid (January 20, 2022 8:55 pm)

 

January 20, 2022 8:49 pm  #12


Re: Why No AM Station Antennas On The CN Tower?

You've listed all the scenarios where it makes sense.

There is no reason for 104.5, 97.3, 1071, or 98.1, the top 4 stations in Toronto, to go HD. Signal clarity in cars for full-powered stations simply isn't an issue at all. Sub-channels will never make money, and adding them only degrades the audio quality of the main signal.

HD isn't like the historical dismissal of FM or streaming. HD is AM Stereo: Too little, too late.

Last edited by RadioAaron (January 20, 2022 9:05 pm)


 
 

January 20, 2022 8:55 pm  #13


Re: Why No AM Station Antennas On The CN Tower?

radiokid wrote:

Tune to the regular signal you always have, and it just becomes much clearer if you have HD.   With AM 530, Z1035, and CBC it's very noticeable when HD flips over as it really cleans up their signals. 
 

In what scenario is HD cleaning up CBC's signal in a car? Being in mono has made them almost completely noise-free in cars throughout the entire GTA. Even in my 7 year old car with a crappy factory radio have I ever heard noise on 99.1


 
 

January 20, 2022 9:24 pm  #14


Re: Why No AM Station Antennas On The CN Tower?

RadioAaron wrote:

You've listed all the scenarios where it makes sense.

There is no reason for 104.5, 97.3, 1071, or 98.1, the top 4 stations in Toronto, to go HD. Signal clarity in cars for full-powered stations simply isn't an issue at all. Sub-channels will never make money, and adding them only degrades the audio quality of the main signal.

I would agree if you look at only the main signals...  but who knows what the future may bring?  Why can't 104-5 run multi-cultural programming that's brokered on 104.5-HD2?   OR 98.1 launch a all 80's channel on HD3?   You forget FM never made money at the start either...  You need radios to all have HD by default.  Just like FM.. this is the issue that was happening many moons ago.    Then make it easy to embrace.  Right now... to get 1010 on HD, I have to flip to 99.9 then wait for HD to kick in, then move up to HD2 when I can get the station by simply going to 1010.   See the issue?     

The solution to fix this is the same solution once experienced by FM.

1. Get radios out on the market by default... just like it took FM!   This requires the industry to push it to the automakers and radio manufacturers.  This has not happened in Canada.
 
2. Put programming NOT offered on the platform and promote it. (just like FM had to do years ago...  just putting their AM station on FM didn't work.. they had to break into progressive rock, and other formats that was not available for people to care.)   Bell offers their Pure Country format in Toronto on 99.9 HD4.  Or Indie's HD2 signal  Unless you go searching you would have no clue it's there... Zero promo, zero effort being done to try and make it work. 

3.  Take steps to prepare.   This means getting transmitters ready for HD by actually offering it.   

4. Understand the market in 2022.   Music radio unless it's offering something unique is dead.   Spotify can play music..  You need to offer something different that you can't get other places.   Know people are in cars when they listen most times...   CBC, Multi-cultural, News, Talk, Sports, local, personality..  Those are things Spotify can't give me..  Why focus on just music?   It seems very out of touch with the reality  (also why Pure Country on HD4 may not be taking off, or Indie's HD2 signal with active rock or whatever they are playing today) 

Chicago, New York, LA... HD is on almost every FM station...   Full powered/heritage stations as well as small operators.   There has been a transition of Talk/News/Sports stations moving to FM with HD and dropping some music formats to do it.   That should tell you where things are going.    

 

Last edited by radiokid (January 20, 2022 9:35 pm)

 

January 20, 2022 10:34 pm  #15


Re: Why No AM Station Antennas On The CN Tower?

I see some valid points made by both radiokid and RadioAaron.

I don't notice a huge difference between 99.1 HD and the analog signal. In mono they are almost the same.

I also agree that the scant original content on HD sub channels is not promoted at all and run like Spotify and no wonder it has not clicked. I would not be surprised however if the ethic HD sub channels have an audience.

Sun channels offering unique content if promoted properly could gain traction. the 88.1 HD 2 and Pure Country are not only not promoted but to my ears don't really offer anything unique.

I agree about signal degradation  occurring when sub channels are offered.

One more gripe about HD is the fact that adjacent signals take a hit. I was really disappointed when WBFO at 88.7 became non viable in Toronto with the introduction of HD on 88.9. Not that I listen to it but the classic hits 89.9 The Buzz from Rochester came in more often than not on two of my sets but no more since 99.1 went HD. We will probably lose more American FM signals if the other major stations go HD. I realize that only DX fans may notice in most instances.


Cool Airchecks and More:
http://www.lettheuniverseanswer.com/