The Rise of FM Radio

28 Jan 2015

Although the technology had been around since the 1930s (the first FM radio for the car was introduced in 1952 by Blaupunkt and stereo broadcasting began in the US in 1961), the frequency spectrum languished in the shadow of immensely popular AM stations.

Originally used for classical and jazz music because of its superior sound, FM listenership remained low.  Many broadcasters just repeated their AM signals on their FM station.  That ended in 1967 when the Federal Communications Commission imposed a non-duplication rule, meaning that FM simulcasts of AM broadcasts were no longer allowed. 

Station owners began to allow rock music on these frequencies.  “Free-form” or “underground” FM radio began to spread the word on acts and styles of music not heard on AM stations.  This kind of broadcasting proved to be vital to 60s counterculture.

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