PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) - Today was a monumental day for the employees of CBS Pittsburgh Radio. The station welcomed one of the five FCC commissioners to their office.
Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Ajit Pai has a fascination and true love for AM radio. In a unanimous vote, President Obama proudly hired Commissioner Pai to the FCC in 2012.
"AM radio is one of the areas where the FCC, to be honest, hasn't concentrated a lot in recent years," said Pai. "In fact, it's been 22 years since we've looked at updating our rules."
Raw Video Of Commissioner Pai's Visit:
Raw Video Of Commissioner Pai Touring KDKA Radio:
Pai continues that AM radio has been a strong influence in his life from the beginning of his childhood.
He wants the public to know that there is someone in the FCC that supports and strives for the success of AM radio.
Proposals to Fix AM
Reviving the AM Radio
Photo Gallery from Commissioner Pai's visit.
Often times the AM band will cut out during programs or emit a loud static noise and listeners tend to change the station.
Last September, Pai sparked an initiative to revitalize the AM radio. KDKA Radio's Mike Pintek was interested in understanding what the FCC will do to enhance the AM band.
"We've received a range of proposals, HD radio is one, transitioning the band from analog to digital, allowing more AM stations to get more translators," said Pai. "I think the FCC should look at all these proposals and post these to the public and see what sticks."
Bandwidth is Running Out
Many times the members of the FCC have conflicting points of view on where to "draw the line." For example when baseball player David "Papi" Ortiz, of the Boston Red Sox, swore on live television. In response, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, tweeted that he supported what "Papi" said.
"Every individual commissioner including the chairman makes a decision to where he or she draws the line," said Pai. "That's something the FCC is going to have to work on, where do we go from here?"
Are we running out of bandwidth?
Listening to AM Radio
Commissioner Pai doesn't think it's a crisis yet, but it's getting there. He explains that simply watching a video on your iPad, you're consuming 128 times bandwidth that you would on a simple phone call.
Now, telephone companies are struggling to make more bandwidth available for consumers.
"Radio really establishes a connection to people,"said Pai. "Listeners really have a connection to their AM station unlike many other radio stations."
"That's one of the things I love about radio is when hard times hit and there's a public safety emergency people's first instinct is to turn on the radio," said Pai.
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