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AM (Amplitude Modulation) Broadcasting: Radio broadcasting using Amplitude Modulation. Because of its susceptibility to atmospheric interference and generally lower-fidelity sound, AM broadcasting is better suited to talk radio and news programming, while music radio and public radio mostly shifted to FM broadcasting in the late 1960s.

Carrier Current: A method of low power AM broadcasting that is generally not licensed in the United States, but is allowed on the campus of any school. This is one method used for college and high school radio, particularly if the signal is only intended to be picked up in a small area. Carrier current stations generally only have an effective radiated power of a few watts. Many established college radio stations originally began as carrier current stations. While the technology is still used by a number of student-run stations today, the popularity declined beginning in the 1980s, as popular music radio formats quickly migrated to the FM band. The popularity of streaming audio over the Internet has hastened this decline.

Commercial broadcasting is the practice of broadcasting for profit. This is normally achieved by interrupting normal programming to air advertisements, also commonly called “commercials” in this context. This is the dominant type of broadcasting in the United States and a handful of other countries such as most of Latin America. It is also common elsewhere, but usually exists alongside public broadcasting where programming is largely funded by broadcast receiver licences, public donations, or government grants. 

FM (Frequency modulation) Broadcasting: A broadcast technology that uses Frequency Modulation (FM) to provide high-fidelity sound over broadcast radio.

Freeform Radio Format: Freeform, or freeform radio, is a radio station programming format in which the disc jockey is given total control over what music to play, regardless of music genre or commercial interests. Freeform radio stands in contrast to most commercial radio stations, in which DJs have little or no influence over programming structure or playlists. In the United States, freeform DJs are still bound by Federal Communications Commission regulations.

Radio Disc Jockey: A disc jockey (also called DJ) is an individual who selects and plays prerecorded music for an intended audience. A radio disc jockey plays music that is broadcast across radio waves, AM and FM bands or worldwide on shortwave radio stations. Radio DJs are notable for their personalities. Often due to terrestrial radio using program directors/music directors to generate the playlist, present-day radio DJs do not typically pick the music to play at stations. Emceeing is their primary duty.

All definitions provided by, unless otherwise noted.

June 2017
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