AM radio once ruled the dial, but lost much of its audience to clearer FM, and has been overshadowed in recent year with the advent of satellite radio, and hurt by "rising interference from smartphones and consumer electronics that reduce many AM stations to little more than static," Wyatt writes. "In 1970 AM accounted for 63 percent of broadcast radio stations, but now it accounts for 21 percent, or 4,900 outlets, according to Arbitron. FM accounts for 44 percent, or 10,200 stations. About 35 percent of stations stream content online."
Pai told Wyatt, “AM radio is localism, it is community. AM radio is always going to be there. When the power goes out, when you can’t get a good cell signal, when the Internet goes down, people turn to battery-powered AM radios to get the information they need. I’m obviously bullish on next-generation technology. But I certainly think there continues to be a place for broadcasting and for AM radio.”