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AM stations will broadcast a signal
at a constant frequency, but will add the sound wave representing the actual
audio to that base signal/carrier wave. This causes the height in the amplitude
of the wave to change accordingly. It’s a completely analog process which made
it possible to stream music and shows to homes, decades before the internet or TV.
FM broadcasting works some-what similarly. With FM, it’s the frequency of the
signal that gets changed, hence the “F” in “FM”. FM radios have a special
transformer inside them that basically sits idle if exactly whatever frequency
you’re tuned to, hits your antenna. Once it detects a small change in that
frequency, it outputs a voltage that makes your speakers emit a certain sound.
This sounds like it is more complicated to engineer than AM, but you often get
a much clearer higher-quality signal. FM is also less susceptible to
interference as well. Interference often manifests as amplitude spikes, and AM
radio would see these spikes as actual sounds to produce, and it would end up
coming out of your speakers, while FM radio focuses on these variations in
frequency rather than amplitude. So FM radio can just ignore that type of
interference, and the death-metal you are listening to will come out sounding
just as clear, and angry, as ever. FM also has the advantage of having much
higher bandwidth than AM due to the mathematical properties of frequency
modulation. This allows for lots of wiggle room in the signal to create more
sounds, more accurately. This makes FM the clear choice for music, while AM is often
just fine for stuff where high fidelity isn’t a big deal, such as talk radio. Of
course this may not seem impressive when the internet allows you to listen to high-quality
digital broadcasts from the other side of the world no problem, but good ole’ analog
radio still has the distinct advantage of only requiring a $10 receiver with no
subscription fees and very high ease of use especially for people who might not
be terribly tech-savvy, and of course your radio will keep working even when your
finicky internet connection goes out. Sometimes simpler, is indeed better. 

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