Wednesday, 3 July 2013

On the road...

First published in my Broadcast Matters: Long, Medium and Shortwave column in Radio User, July 2013 (extract)

Over Easter I spent a fabulous family fortnight in the western USA, on a road trip.

Sightseeing quite rightly took up much of our time but I spent some late evenings and early mornings tuned to the radio. Surveying the USA radio scene is always fun. While FM offered many genres of music, in the cities at least, medium wave was more interesting to me.
This was partly because there were DX opportunities and I never quite knew what I’d hear next. I didn’t achieve any spectacular DX catches as it happens, but just listening to and identifying stations a few miles to a few hundred miles away was hugely enjoyable.

We started in Las Vegas and where I logged around 15 mw stations. Sports radio is big news in the States with KMZQ on 670kHz and KBAD Fox Sports on 920 kHz being two examples. On 1100kHz KWWN was a community sports station with live basketball commentaries. From North Las Vegas came station KXNS with plenty of sport along with other programmes. They were on a pledge drive with adverts urging listeners to donate unwanted vehicles to sell for charity. This is obviously something of a popular fund raiser at the moment as I heard a couple of National Public Radio FM stations do similar. 

Incidentally NPR was the best quality of programme content I heard anywhere in the USA: Interesting and entertaining, with quiz shows, comedy, features, news and often carrying BBC World Service overnight. I still haven’t got my head around all the variations of the regional and local NPR networks but they shine like a beacon on the US FM bands. 

KLAV on 1230 kept me up to date with hottest happenings of the Las Vegas nightlife, but you don’t need a radio to tell you about that. Simply head for the madness of the bars and casinos and see it for yourself in this 24/7 city.

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