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Internet Radio vs. Traditional AM/FM Radio


Internet Radio vs. Traditional AM/FM Radio
Radios have been one of the most prominent technological devices for more than a century. From their early years in the 1800s until the recent developments, radios have helped to provide entertainment and communication throughout the society of many cultures.The Early YearsThe early years of radio technology started in the 1800s. During the late 1800s, Nikola Tesla got people interested in the radio technology through his several advances. He presented the idea in his lecture in 1893 that astounded many people in St. Louis, Missouri.
The first major breakthrough occurred in 1895 when Guglielmo Marconi received the first patent for the radio. While the idea was around, the actual devices that made radio technology possible were introduced in 1901. The first commercial transatlantic radio service was created in 1907.
The Birth of Radio Stations


With many great minds working on the idea, it didn't take long before radio stations started to pop up around the globe. KCBS is generally considered the first commercial radio station, but there are many others that started their services around the same decade. For instance, KDKA in Pittsburgh started producing communication via radio waves in 1920.


AM Frequency - The Golden Age of Radio


AM frequency was the first radio frequency that was used in 1906 during WWI. Since it was very reliable, it quickly became the most popular frequency for broadcasting starting in 1920. It remained the dominant radio frequency for more than three decades. This period is commonly referred to as the Golden Age of Radio.


FM Radio - A Better Alternative


While the AM frequency was very popular throughout the 1950s, in 1940s, researchers started developing the FM as an alternative radio frequency for broadcasting. FM frequency became popular during the 1960s and was dominant throughout the 1970s. Since FM could transmit on any frequency, it was more popular than the AM signal.


Internet Radio and Recent Developments


In recent years, more developments have been made in the radio world that have made listening to your favorite music even more convenient. With an internet connection, you can listen to streaming audio from virtually any station all over the globe. Apart from these, subscription-based radio services, e.g. XM Radio, iHeartRadio, etc. have also become very popular.


Internet Radio vs. Traditional AM/FM Radio


Following are the key differences between internet radio and traditional AM/FM radio:

  • Coverage: The coverage of traditional AM/FM radio is generally limited to a certain geographic area, e.g. city, state, province, etc. Internet radio on the other hand, has a global reach as it is transmitted through the internet.

  • Accessibility: You need a radio or a radio tuner app on your mobile device with an AM/FM receiver chip, which is not very common nowadays. In contrast, all you need is internet connection on a device to start listening to an online radio station.

  • Broadcast Type: Internet radio offers a more specialized broadcast as compared to traditional radio. It offers a wide range of music genres for listeners to choose from.

  • Sound Quality: Unlike AM/FM radio, the signal of an online radio station is 100% digital. This means the streaming is not susceptible to tuning issues and other limitations that are inherent to frequency broadcasting.


    Radio has been one of the most prominent pieces of technology for more than a century. It is still widely used for many purposes. However, with better technology being introduced every day, traditional radios are starting to become obsolete. And it is likely that internet radio will replace them altogether in the future

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