How things have changed.
AM radio is almost all talk-radio now.
If you want music, you listen either to FM or satellite radio. And that's progress, 'cause AM sucks as a conveyor of music. It is seriously degraded by thunderstorms and other atmospheric phenomenon.
But come back with me to 1966. I was a Private "E-nothing" (lowest rank possible) in the ARMY at Ft. Jackson, S.C., just outside the State Capital, Columbia. Homesick as I could possibly be, I was thirsty for anything that remotely reminded me of home. My most prized possession at the time was a General Electric AM/FM radio I had purchased at the Post Exchange. With it, at night, I could tune to 1190 on the AM dial where I could hear a station several hours drive from my hometown of Indianapolis come booming into South Carolina...
WOWO, Ft. Wayne, Indiana.
Top 40, news, weather and sports...
At least I got news from Indiana, which frequently included stuff from Indy.
I was comforted.
In the (infrequent) event I couldn't get WOWO to come in, I'd turn the dial to the left and 890 WLS out of Chicago would generally be there as an alternative. And if thunderstorms precluded me from listening to stations close to home, I'd drop even farther down the dial to 690 WAPE, "The Big Ape" out of Jacksonville, Florida.
There are still AM blowtorches out there that can be heard over much of the middle United States...
1020 KDKA, Pittsburgh. 1120 KMOX, St. Louis. 890 WLS and 780 WBBM, Chicago.
1200 WOAI, San Antonio. 850 KOA, Denver. 1040 WHO, Des Moines.
Late at night I still poke around on the AM dial to find a strong signal. But I listen today because I'm searching for news, weather, sports, and political discussion.
Near-perfect music listening is just a CD or FM radio frequency away.
But how I miss the days of being able to tune in WOWO as I shaved in the morning and hear "The Adventures of Chicken Man!"
My heart hurts a little...
Some things just aren't better than they used to be.