Regulating the Future: Broadcasting Technology and Governmental Control

By W. A. Kelly Huff | Go to book overview

Chapter 3

AM Stereo: The Wrath of Kahn

In January 1985 Leonard Kahn issued a formal complaint to the FTC in regard to possible antitrust practices of Motorola, Harris, and other manufacturers. By March 1985 the FTC launched a formal, preliminary investigation but made no comment other than acknowledging it. The FTC was gathering information to determine if a full-blown investigation was warranted. Kahn’s most egregious charge was Harris’ December decision to drop its own system and adopt Motorola’s. Kahn was upset that receiver manufacturers were not making consumers aware of AM stereo systems other than Motorola’s. Kahn believed that if consumers knew about incompatibility, they would choose multidecoders. Kahn said: “The only way you can sell single-system radio is by sneaking it in” (FTC said, 1985, p. 42).

As April 1985 ended, Motorola’s popularity continued climbing among broadcasters and manufacturers. Although all Harris equipment had not been changed to C-QUAM, Motorola’s system was installed at 250 stations. Fewer than 100 remained with Kahn (AM broadcasters: Anxious, 1985). Major cornerstones in Kahn’s camp, stations in Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, and Toledo, changed to C-QUAM. All explained that listeners with AM stereo receivers such as Delco could not get their stereo broadcasts. By not understanding incompatibility problems, listeners considered the stations inferior. Many broadcasters believed that Kahn’s system was better than Motorola’s but were concerned about Motorola’s lead and its alliance with major receiver manufacturers. It was difficult to promote AM stereo without a way to hear it (Ronaldi, 1985).

Weary of the fight, AM broadcasters wanted to focus on stopping FM. At the April 1985 NAB convention in Las Vegas, much discussion focused on AM unity and national stereo promotion. Manufacturers such as Harris, Continental, Broadcast Electronics, TFT, and Delta Electronics displayed C-QUAM

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Regulating the Future: Broadcasting Technology and Governmental Control
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgements xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - Learning from Broadcasting’s Past 5
  • Chapter 2 - Am Stereo and the Marketplace 17
  • Chapter 3 - Am Stereo: The Wrath of Kahn 39
  • Chapter 4 - Digital Audio Broadcasting: a New Kind of Radio 67
  • Chapter 5 - Border-To-Border Dab 87
  • Chapter 6 - Advanced Television from HDTV to DTV 111
  • Chapter 7 - The Grand Alliance and the Introduction of Dtv 145
  • Chapter 8 - The FCC’s Changing Regulatory Role 185
  • Index 223
  • About the Author 235
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