There are different types of radio. But before delving into what “Radio” actually is, it’s very important we note radio as a means of convening news; updates and information belongs to the family of broadcast media. What then in Mass media and journalism is broadcasting?
What is broadcasting?
Broadcasting has been defined as the transmission of sound or visual content using the radio-frequency or electromagnetic waves. It could also mean the means of disseminating timely news or information as they unfold either through audio or audio-visual means.
With the recent developments in the digital technology, radio broadcasting is now applicable to different types of information distribution. Today, listeners have plenty of opportunities to choose from as there are many types of radio broadcast station as there was in the past.
What is Radio?
Since there are numerous definitions that are widely accepted for the term “Radio”, it’s then safer to define Radio as a form of media that disseminate timely news event and latest happenings orally or via audio to a particular set of audiences.
Similarly, it’s the transmission and reception of radio-frequency waves, most especially, those relaying sound messages. However, there are different types of radio that transmit and recieve electromagnetic wave in the course of carrying messages as sound and they shall be examined below.
Types of Radio
There are three main types of radio and they are:
- Analog Radio;
- Digital Radio; and
- Internet Radio
1. Analog Radio
The analog radio has been in existence as far back as 1933 during which time technology has reached its highest peak with this kind of innovation.
Being a radio device developed by the military, analog signals make use of sinusoidal waveforms to send or communicate any voice signal in a direct wave. It was, however, made available for the general public usage after 20 years of its introduction.
Analog radio feeds only on a single transmitter that is popularly known as the AM station and/or FM station. These stations feed and refer from a similar transmitter. Which means it’s possible to feed on the two transmitters with an analog radio in the same area.
It’s equally possible to feed on several transmitters that is covering various areas. Whatever the case may be, both the AM and FM doesn’t refer the whole station but rather to a specific transmitter.
2. Digital Radio
Digital radio is like a digital broadcast or recording, it process sound wave input into some numeric patterns. Digital radio offers an improved audio quality with it resistance latent interference with other unwelcoming signal crossing.
In a situation where an analog radio transmits an actual and real voice across a restraint wavelength, the digital radio will instantly convert such voice into a simplified and amplified computer language that can be transmitted efficiently over a long distance.
Thanks to the latest invention of what we call digital radio now, wireless communication has grown and expanded well. Some areas of digital radio that saw improvements include; a much wider calling range, enhanced voice quality, reliable coverage increment, availability of advanced software, etc.
3. Internet Radio
Another kind of radio worth mentioning is the internet radio. Internet radio is the act of streaming audio services online to give a well simulated broadcast of over-the-air wave or signals to large numbers of unknown web listeners.
Forms of Radio Broadcasting
1. AM Radio (Amplitude Modulation)
This is the earliest form of radio signal. It derives its name from the manner by which it radios waves are being emitted by manipulating the radio amplitude couple with the signal amplitude that is — over the time — being transmitted.
Also, what is being used in most part of the world to deliver the AM broadcasting is known as the ‘medium-wave band’, although some European countries prefer using ‘long-wave band’ to broadcast instead.
While AM forms of broadcasting is an offshore of analog type of radio, its greatest advantage is that it emitted sounds are fairly simplistic and the signal too can be detected easily.
2. FM Radio (Frequency Modulation)
Another analog radio signal is FM and it was invented as far back as 1930 in a bid to advance the interference issues associated with AM radio. The FM radio stations can be detected on VHF — very high frequency — waves.
The coverage range in FM are shorter compare to that of AM, despite it high frequency value. So it’s better to say that the FM radio signal is more ideal for radio stations situated in a local area.
In addition, when the FM radio was originally introduced, it doesn’t post any kind of threat to AM since people will have to buy another type of radio receiver. However, after World War II where changes in frequencies give room to FM radio accessibility freely, then AM radio witnessed a drastic fall.
3. Pirate Radio
Pirate radio which is also known as ‘illegal radio’ or ‘unregulated radio’ is another form of radio broadcast. Usually, this radio is used for broadcasting political news and events. Equally, it is often use as an exchange for two-way transmission.
Informatively, pirate radio origin can be linked to the unlicensed general use of radio which history suggests that there were moments where ships — pirate — at sea used this form of broadcasting as a means of communication.
In addition, the end at which a person is depends greatly on the form of broadcasting one is engaging in as pirate radio as a short wave electromagnetic transmission could be AM or PM too.
Interestingly, it’s important you note that the source of this unlicensed or unregulated radio broadcast could be legal sometime, but the point or place where the broadcast is being received may be considered as illegal. For instance, a broadcast that goes across the border.
4. Terrestrial Digital Radio
This form of radio broadcast is obviously of digital type. It came into limelight in Europe around 1990s. To describe this class of radio in a simpler term, it can be referred to as DAB — Digital Audio Broadcasting — radio.
Terrestrial digital radio is still evolving as this form of radio has a very strong footing in some part of Europe, albeit still finding it root in some other part of the world.
5. Satellite Radio
Similarly, satellite radio is a form of broadcasting service transmits through satellites. With satellite radios, broadcasting could cover a wide geographical location compared to any other forms of radio.
Hence, this radio transmission was developed primarily to be used inside cars. An interesting part about the satellite radio is that it has scrambled radio transmission and also stores meta-data concerning a particular broadcast.
That is to say, the radio signals will be deal with by the radio receivers that shows the information. All in all, this radio transmission allows whatsoever radio station that uses it to be heard anywhere across the globe.
Summary – Types of Radio
To crown it all, analog radio has been around for ages and its time is patiently fading away. Of course, from the above explanation, it’s learnt that analog type of radio has its own qualities and values as well. Also, it is apparent from the foregoing that most of the radio systems that are still in use now operate on analog frequency.
So it’s safer to say that as the digital technology world grows, many more professionals will still switch from the age-longed analog to digital radio. Although it’s can be deduced from the above discourse that digital radio varies as some offer same service as analog radio, and others do not.