How Radio Stations Work: The Technical Details
There are basically two types of radio stations; the AM and FM radio stations. There are also some other types like campus radio, hospital radio, commercial and public radio stations. Also, radio owes it discovery from two other inventions; the telephone and the telegraph. It’s discovery came from the discovery of “radio waves” which can transmit pictures, sounds and other data through the air invisibly.
- The AM stations were the first broadcasting stations to be developed. AM means “amplitude modulation.” The process of AM broadcasting is done by broadcasting radio waves by making the amplitude vary to the carrier signal which responds to the amplitude of the signal to be transmitted. There are lots of countries like the US and Europe who uses AM broadcasting. One of the advantages that AM brings is that a simple equipment can detect its unsophisticated signal. Another advantage it has is that it uses a narrower bandwidth than FM and, you do not need a power source if the signal is strong enough. However, the AM signal is also more susceptible to interference and may fade completely when problems like electrical storms appear.
- The FM station was invented by Edwin H. Armstrong in the 1930’s with the sole purpose of overcoming the static interference the AM radio experiences. FM means frequency modulation and works on VHF airwaves ranging from 88 to 108 MHz everywhere. The interference in the AM radios was addressed in a way that the available frequencies for FM was far higher that those with the AM.
Radio’s First Uses
The early uses of radio were for sending messages telegraphically with the use of Morse code. The earliest users of it were the Japanese Navy when they were scouting the Russian Fleet in the Battle of Tshushima. Radio became a more common form of military communication during World War I — a far cry from today’s primary purposes of entertaining and informing laypeople via music and news programming. Today, radio is by far most commonly used for entertainment.
Radio, Online & Off, Today
There are now hundreds of radio stations around the world. They are all operating to give listeners music to listen to; news to inform listeners of daily happenings; or sometimes, a comedy or play to entertain listeners. These days, with radio and online radio music playing such an important role in our world, it is difficult to imagine the world without it.
The latest incarnation of radio, online internet radio stations, typically takes one of two forms:
- The standard-to-online radio format, which translates and relays traditional radio station signals online. Sometimes, the broadcasting station’s ads are switched out for online advertisements that might be more relevant to listeners in a different locale, but in general this format tends to do little more than give one-way, online access to the standard station sounds.
- Enhanced internet radio, which sometimes involves subscription fees, but high-caliber sites like 977music don’t charge for the extra benefits of features like customized playlists, better options for pop-out players, and more dynamic and widely functional control options.