FAQ’s, AM Coverage, and… “Radio 101” How to Listen


This is going to be one of those wordy, “techy” kind of pages for the comfort and reading enjoyment of the radio geeks who love to do more than just listen.  They want to know how things work, and why.  If you don’t fit this category, you are invited to click to any other of our pages now. 

“AM STEREO 1430” Has a huge outreach in the daylight hours, and we often hear from local listeners on trips who try to “hang on” to the AM 1430 signal as far as they can.   Our official AM coverage map looks like this:
Because AM radio bounces around at night when the ionosphere is higher in the heavens, WION has to dial back it’s AM (only, not FM) power by FCC regulations. At night, we serve a smaller area in a “lightbulb” shaped pattern with the envelope of the lightbulb to the north, covering Belding, Orleans, Fenwick, etc.  BUT….that’s when you can rely on our FM 92-7 signal in most of Ionia County, and our 100.3 FM signal in Eastern Kent County, from downtown Lowell.  You can also, of course use our online AM stereo feed when needed!


Q)What is an FAQ?

A) An FAQ is a “frequently asked question, whereas, an EAQ is an “excessively asked question.” Now, on with the “real” questions!

Q) I often hear announcers say WION is “AM Stereo.” What is that? Can I get it?

A) AM stereo is true stereo, just like FM! It can be received on many car radios in vehicles from the 1990’s through early 2000’s, and on some HD radios today, too! We broadcast in AM stereo “because we can” and, because it contributes to a higher quality sound on ANY AM radio you use to enjoy our station. Some newer HD receivers, however do not render the full, wide sound we are actually broadcasting. If what you hear on an HD radio doesn’t sound “high fidelity” on AM 1430, you may want to enjoy our station on a standard name-brand quality (mono) radio or via our internet feed which is FULL AM STEREO! If you live in our AM 1430 listening area, you can also look for used tuners like the Carver TX-11a or the Denon 680. These are often available on Ebay and other secondary market outlets.

Q) Why is the AM signal hard to receive at night?

A) Our daytime power is quite high, reaching Lansing, Grand Rapids, and much of west central Michigan. By nature, AM radio waves bounce off a layer in the atmosphere called the “ioniosphere.” In the daytime this layer is near the earth. At night, the layer is much higher. Waves bounce only a short distance in the daytime, (our normal coverage area.) At night, they bounce much farther, and our signal could mix with other stations on the same frequency, causing interference. FCC rules state that most AM stations must lower their power, or control where the signal goes, to minimize interference. Within Ionia County, if you have difficulty with our AM signal, you may switch to FM 92-7 for the same programming. It’s also identical programming on our Eastern Kent County signal from Lowell on 100.3 FM.

Q) Why does the audio cut out for 3 seconds, about the same time, every night?

A) Everyday at sundown, and again at sunup, our transmitter changes power settings and towers. (see above) We could have connected our internet stream directly to our audio source in the studio and avoided the audio drop outs. In fact, this would have been easier for us, and most stations do exactly that! However, we at WION are very proud of our AM Stereo sound, and we want the world to know just how incredible AM Stereo sounds! Since we use a real AM stereo Carver tuner, like any other listener, at the point in time where we change our power and pattern you will hear a very short interruption around 3 seconds, and may even heare other signals in place of ours for just that brief moment.

And, for those who are curious about the combined coverage of our two FM translators covering Ionia and Eastern Kent County (W224BZ and W262DN)  The RED lines superimposed on the AM map show their primary coverage and best reception areas!

You can, of course listen online to WION with (almost) any device….anywhere!  We’re licensed by Live 365 as you see on almost every page of this website.  That means that our music licensing AND streaming is handled by them. From there, it is in the “internet directory” known as “Tune-In Radio” and served to devices of all kinds.  Just ask for “WION”.

We also have an Amazon Alexa “Skill” and are the ONLY ones to have this!  Here’s how to get it and install it:

  Step 1: Say “Alexa enable Skill.”  Alexa will ask which skill you want to enable. Step 2: Say “WION-AM STEREO 1430” Then, Once the skill is enabled, just Say “Alexa, play AM Stereo”
You’ll then be able to hear us on your Amazon devices much easier….and it’s just kind of “cool” for us, too.