What’s AM about

What’s AM Radio?

Broadcasting in South Africa takes place on the Medium Wave (AM) and FM (VHF) bands.

LM Radio broadcasts on the Medium Wave band, also referred to as the AM band, on a frequency of 702 kHz.

Both AM and FM broadcasting have their own benefits and shortfalls. The major benefit of AM is the greatly enhanced broadcasting range of up to 250 to 300 km from the transmitter whereas FM is limited to 100km or less. At night AM broadcasts can be received up to 1500km or more.

The major disadvantage of AM is the susceptibility to electrical interference from computers, cellphone chargers and LED and energy saving lights. However, it is possible to reduce or eliminate this interference. See below.

Tuning to LM Radio on Medium Waves

Locate the Band switch on the radio. Select the AM or MW position.
On a radio with a dial, turn the dial to find LM Radio near the 700 mark
On a radio with a digital display, use the Up / Down or < > buttons to tune to 702

If listening on a portable radio, rotate the radio for the best reception and try placing the radio near a window or outside wall.

If listening on a stereo system, make sure that the AM loop aerial is connected. Rotate the loop for the best reception.

If you have noise or interference, switch off all lights and cellphone chargers. Then switch them on one at a time to identify the noise source.

If listening on your car radio check that the aerial is fully extended.

Mobile phone chargers and other electrical devices plugged into the cigarette lighter connection can also cause noise or jam the reception. Try unplugging the devices to see if it makes a difference.

Quite frequently LED lights or IT equipment in built up areas or near shopping centres or industrial buildings can also cause high levels of noise. So try moving the car to an open space while tuning the radio.