AM broadcasting

AM broadcasting is radio broadcasting using amplitude modulation (AM) transmissions. It was the first method developed for making audio radio transmissions, and is still used worldwide, primarily for medium wave (also known as "AM band") transmissions, but also on the longwave and shortwave radio bands.

The earliest experimental AM transmissions began in the early 1900s. However, widespread AM broadcasting was not established until the 1920s, following the development of vacuum tube receivers and transmitters. AM radio remained the dominant method of broadcasting for the next 30 years, a period called the "Golden Age of Radio", until television broadcasting became widespread in the 1950s and received most of the programming previously carried by radio. Subsequently, AM radio's audiences have also greatly shrunk due to competition from FM (frequency modulation) radio, Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB), satellite radio, HD (digital) radio and Internet streaming.

AM transmissions are much more susceptible to interference than FM or digital signals, and often have lower audio fidelity. Thus, AM broadcasters tend to specialise in spoken-word formats, such as talk radio, all news and sports, with music formats primarily for FM and digital stations.

AM and FM modulated signals for radio. AM (Amplitude Modulation) and FM (Frequency Modulation) are types of modulation (coding). The electrical signal from program material, usually coming from a studio, is mixed with a carrier wave of a specific frequency, then broadcast. In the case of AM, this mixing (modulation) is done by altering the amplitude (strength) of the carrier wave, proportional to the original signal. In contrast, in the case of FM, it is the carrier wave's frequency that is varied. A radio receiver contains a demodulator that extracts the original program material from the broadcast wave.