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Ken Foote's Radio/TV Files: North American Radio Tidbits

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(CBSDFW) - You know, every now and then, I get asked about other radio stations in the North American hemisphere and how they interact with those licensed in the United States. So here are a few tidbits:

· All radio/TV stations in the U.S. start with either a "W" or a "K." Most stations are four call letters; some are three but, in a previous blog, I explained how these came about. An entity applying to construct a new station cannot ask for three calls anymore.

· There are more than 15,000 licensed radio stations in the U.S. today.

· In Canada, as of 2014, there were approximately 700 radio stations. Most or all start with the letter "C." Canadian law does not require licensed stations to give a top-of- hour legal station ID as opposed to American stations licensed by the FCC who are required. That's why the great CKLW in Windsor ON/Detroit MI, which was a Bill Drake/Gene Chenault Top 40 station, only identified itself as "C-K-L-W…The Motor City!" By the way, Windsor is south of Detroit!

· Mexican stations typically start with an "X'. As a kid learning Spanish in high school, I used to listen to XEW in Mexico City on 900AM. With a 250,000- watt transmitter, it was and remains the most powerful AM station in North America today. Its slogan was: "La Voz De La America Latina Desde Mexico!"…"The Voice Of Latin America From Mexico!" It is now just called "W-Radio."

· XEROK (AM) in El Paso was a Top 40 rock station in the 1960's and 1970's…."The Sun City Rocker!" And this station got ratings too! And it was English speaking! 150,000 watts! Today it programs Regional Mexican music.

· Cuban stations are all over the board in some ways. When I was in Tampa in 1982, Radio Reloj on 570AM did not honor North American treaties on AM Radio transmission power and literally drowned out the local station in St. Petersburg, WPLP, a 5kw station. No nighttime service at all for WPLP due to it literally being jammed from Havana. Many stations in Cuba are more identified as "Radio (fill in the blank, sometimes a name that brands the station) and the AM stations' power is all over board. Some identify themselves with the first letter "C."

See you next time.

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