Monday, August 20, 2007

Class A, B, Class III, IV

For reasons unknown to me, I got to thinking about radio stations where I worked. Maybe it was something on the news, or some commercial. Beats me; trying to keep up with my thoughts is hard enough, but at least I have enough to blog here daily and write a newspaper column weekly.

I was thinking, specifically, of this Class B FM radio station where I worked in the Midwest. These operations are licensed for a maximum of 50,000 watts with a max antenna height of 500 feet, or some equivalent balance of the two (more height, less power). I forget what our stats were, but in the flat Midwest, it doesn’t matter; anything over 3000 watts at a bunch of hundred feet will take you a long way.

We went a long way; we were the primary classical music outlet for parts of at least two states, if not three. When I opened the mic to introduce the weekly Metropolitan Opera broadcasts, I knew that a lot of people were listening to me and I tried hard to make a seamless, yet interesting join.

I worked at some Class A FM stations, smaller operations with lower power and lower antennas. You are talking to your friends and neighbors around the city and the ‘burbs.

I began at a Class III AM station, licensed for regional broadcasting that will hit a bunch of cities and outlying areas. It was neat, knowing that every word I wrote or spoke was going out to all these people. But I also did Class IV’s, which barely left town, especially at night.


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