A third AM station is making the move to all digital broadcasting. Cumulus Media will power down its analog signal for WFAS (1230) in the Hudson Valley, north of New York City, May 24 and convert the station to all-digital transmission.
The station notified the Commission of its plan in an April 16 filing, triggering the mandatory 30-day waiting period during which WFAS must alert listeners with on-air messages that, without a digital receiver, they will no longer be able to hear the station.
“Once WFAS has switched to an all-digital operation, only radios equipped with HD radio technology will be able to receive and play the station programming, “ WFAS explains to listeners in a posting on its website. “WFAS will no longer be available on analog-only AM radios. Broadcasting in digital will eliminate annoying static and interference, improve the sound quality to equal FM radio and streaming and extends the range for clear reception.”
Licensed to White Plains in New York’s affluent Westchester County, WFAS has dropped its sports format and is currently airing syndicated conservative talk programming.
Unlike others that have opted to go all-digital, WFAS does not simulcast on a FM translator, meaning listeners without digital receivers will only be able to tune-in via its station stream.
The all-digital move comes after the Commission approved a proposal last October giving owners of AM stations the option of powering down their analog transmitters and broadcasting exclusively in digital. NIA Broadcasting flipped WMGG Tampa-St Petersburg (1470) to all-digital in January. WMGG is currently simulcasting the regional Mexican format originating on the company’s “Caliente 96.1” WTMP-FM (96.1) and the Tampa-licensed translator W270DU at 101.9 FM. Owner Neal Ardman told Inside Radio that so far, he has not received any complaints from listeners missing the analog AM signal.
Hubbard Radio’s adult alternative “The Gamut” WWFD, Frederick, MD (820) has been operating as a digital-only AM station since July 2018 under experimental authority granted by the FCC.
Meanwhile, NIA Broadcasting is preparing to go all-digital on a second AM in the Tampa market. Ardman says they are slated to take delivery on a second digital transmitter which they will use to make R&B oldies WTMP (1150) an all-digital station as well. WTMP also simulcasts on a pair of translators – the Egypt Lake, FL-licensed W271DL at 102.1 FM and the St. Petersburg, FL-licensed W248CA at 97.5 FM.