Remember when Colorado Public Radio made such a big deal about moving its news-and-information service from 1340 AM to 90.1 FM this past July? The service emphasized that listeners should switch their pre-sets to FM -- and I dutifully did so. But today, I discovered something interesting while driving my son's car to work (mine's in the shop, and he's off at college in Washington, D.C., where he uses public transportation). Specifically, the same news programming that airs at 90.1 FM continues to be heard at the old 1340 dial position, too.
The folks at CPR don't seem terribly interested in letting the public know about this option. There's no mention of 1340 on either its home page or even its station map. Nonetheless, it'll probably continue to be the case for quite some time given the economics of radio stations these days.
Not terribly long ago, FM signals were in huge demand, and even AMs commanded hefty pricetags -- but no more. As a result, companies unable to move extra stations are more likely to simulcast on them than to launch new formats. That's the case with NRC Broadcasting, which recently shut down KCUV, a rock station that had been a passion project for the firm's chieftain, Tim Brown. Rather than coming up with another style or sound, Brown is now broadcasting his Jack-FM outlet at KCUV's old dial position, 102.3 FM, as well as Jack's traditional spot, 105.5 FM.
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I'm sure the folks at CPR are actively trying to sell the 1340 AM station, and perhaps they'll succeed -- someday. Until then, don't be surprised if you're still able to listen to National Public Radio programming on AM for many moons to come. -- Michael Roberts