Simple Tips for Better Radio Reception

You’re used to getting apologetics advice from Patrick Madrid on The Patrick Madrid Show, the ‘Word of the Day’ from Fr. Richard Simon on Father Simon Says, and marriage advice from Timmerie Geagea on Trending with Timmerie. But the Relevant Radio® engineers have a treasure trove of tech advice to offer as well!

Though you don’t hear them on the air, the Relevant Radio engineers are the heroes behind the scenes, making sure the best Catholic programming gets from our mics to your radio. Often listeners will have trouble getting reception on their radios, and the Relevant Radio engineers swoop in and save the day.

Below are some of the most common problems listeners encounter when it comes to poor AM radio reception. If you have similar issues with signal interference, try these solutions. And if you’re still stumped, go ahead and Report a Signal Problem and we’ll work to find a fix.

Holy Land Pilgrimage with Drew Mariani

Power Supply Interference
Do you find that sometimes Relevant Radio comes in crystal clear and sometimes it’s staticky – even if you’re listening in the same place? The problem may not be with the signal or your radio. It may be something in your car or home that is interfering with your radio. The power supply of other electronics can actually affect the signal on your radio – even if they’re not directly connected.

Relevant Radio Field Engineer Aaron Cox recently did some field research and showed how something as simple as a car charger can affect your reception on your AM radio.

“I am only 12 miles from our transmitter facility and in my video below you can hear some nasty noise and interference,” Aaron said. “When I remove the charger the audio becomes clean and listenable. This can also happen in a home when a cheaply made power supply is plugged in – it can have an effect on the entire electrical system, causing poor reception. ”

And it’s not just in your car that power supply interference can cause a problem. Aaron recalled, “I had a case where a gentleman had bought a new TV and the power supply completely knocked out his radio’s ability to receive good audio. I asked if he had purchased any new electronics and he told me about the television. I asked him to unplug it and see if the radio reception improved. Much to his surprise, it cleared right up.”

Radio Rotation
Did you know that the antenna for receiving the AM signal is actually inside your radio, typically located near the rear? Director of Network Operations Marty Jury (who was recently named Engineer of the Year by the Society of Broadcast Engineers!) said that many signal reception issues can be fixed by simply rotating your radio. You can also improve the reception of an AM station by placing your radio near a window, with the back of it facing outside.

Poor AM Radio Reception at Night
Many listeners tell us that their Relevant Radio station sounds great during the day, but they can barely hear it at night. Unfortunately, this is something that even our engineers can’t fix. Due to the way radio waves travel at night, many Relevant Radio AM stations are required to reduce power when the sun sets, in order to avoid massive interference with other stations. This is by order of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) so there’s no simple solution to this reception problem.

But that doesn’t mean you have to forego listening to Relevant Radio at night! If the reduced power at nighttime affects your listening, try tuning in via these other means:

  • Live streaming online at relevantradio.com
  • Listen live on the free Relevant Radio app
  • Stream on a smart speaker, like an Amazon Echo or Google Home
  • Download podcasts of any shows you missed

If you find that Relevant Radio isn’t coming in clear in your area, be sure to let us know! Report a signal problem and the Relevant Radio engineers will be on the case in no time!

Holy Land Pilgrimage with Drew Mariani
Stephanie Foley serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she studied journalism, and she has worked in Catholic radio for 12 years. Stephanie is a wife, a mother of three boys, and in her free time she enjoys reading, running, and really good coffee. You can find more of Stephanie’s writing at relevantradio.com and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.