On Wednesday the Japan Commercial Broadcasters Association urged the government to allow them to dissolved costly AM radio by 2028 amid falling revenues.
Many broadcasters are struggling to maintain both AM and FM radio services. “Resolving the overlapping investment for AM and FM radio services is essential,” an official of the association said in a meeting held by the communications ministry.
The association also called on the government to take measures to conduct an experiment to stop broadcasting AM radio in some areas in around 2023.
If the government approves the necessary legal change, FM complementary broadcasting, currently used for fringe areas of AM radio and as a disaster countermeasure, could be standardized as FM radio while AM radio services are terminated in most areas of Japan.
Although FM radio can be broadcast with simple facilities, it does not have the range of AM radio. If FM radio becomes the main radio service, broadcasters will need to install a lot of relay stations and some listeners may have to buy new radios.
Since there are areas where AM radio is seen as more efficient, the association also asked the government to allow them to maintain parallel use in some areas.
One communication expert who attended the meeting said it is important to allow people to listen to radios as usual even in times of disaster.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications will decide on the system revision based on discussion of the panel.