FAQ

Mini-Digital FM Stereo Transmitter

1.  Why should I use DriveThruRadio.com's FM Radio Station?
FM Transmitters promote your business to visitors and potential clients/customers continuously, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week whether your business is open or closed. Most drivers already have their radios set to FM. Many people prefer listening to your message rather than reading pamphlets and signs. Your messages can be customized and even produced in different languages. Potential customers listen to your informational announcement without leaving the comfort of their vehicles. Visitors also feel less intimidated when they can listen to an audio presentation before interacting with a sales person. Remember, Telling is Selling.
See DTR Benefits

2.  Can I record the messages myself?
Yes, you may easily record your own message and create your own CD or MP3 files. WARNING: Unless you are experienced in this, some people may find this to be a daunting and time consuming task. DriveThruRadio can edit, mix and produce the final message using your own material. Note: The use of professional voice talent/announcers, properly mixed with licensed background music with the necessary commercial studio equipment is essential for producing the best quality business image and sound quality.  See Voice Talent page for professional samples.

3.  Can I acquire customized sound effects for our message?
Yes, you may want to record a particular sound such as a bell tower, animal call or bird sounds, or use a recorded interview with an historian, artist or curator. These sound tracks can be incorporated into the message. If we don't have the requested sound effect, we'll get it. For a sample go to Golf or Country Club or go to the Voice Talent page for professional samples.

4.  Can DriveThruRadio.com create a character voice for my audio productions?
Yes, we have numerous professional voice specialists that can create character voices for mascots or special images.   See Voice Talent page for professional samples.

5.  Can sound clips from other sources be used?
Yes and No. Some productions have copyrights and may require special permissions or fees when used.

6.  What is the cost to produce a message for our DriveThruRadio.com radio station?
The length of the final audio message determines the costs. Other factors such as gathering the information and using copyright material will play a factor. For general costs, please visit our Voice Talent page for professional samples.

7.  How can local businesses help to sponsor my costs?
Businesses can buy co-op advertising time on your DriveThruRadio Station to help defray your costs. With enough co-op advertisers, you can even make a monthly profit while still getting your message out to the public. Some businesses even use DriveThruRadio and Talking-Billboards.com to generate a positive monthly revenue.

8.  Can we use the DTR audio content in other advertising media or can it be sold on a sound track?
Yes and No.  The audio production is licensed "only" to play on your radio station. Any other use will require an additional license and fee. Contact to determine whether your productions can be used in other formats.

9.  How can we update our message if there are changes from season to season?
It is best to create and record all of the various messages at the time of the initial recording session. This way you have access to the same voice talent and music bed, otherwise a separate recording session will be necessary if you require an updated message.

10.  What FM Frequency can I use?
DriveThruRadio'sMini-Digital FM Stereo Transmitter broadcasts from 88.3 FM to 107.7 FM. (The Entire FM Band) As long as you do not cause harmful interference to a commercial radio station, you may use any "open" and available FM frequency. There are generally numerous open frequencies to choose from.

11.  Is one part of the FM band better for broadcasting?
Yes, Generally, the lower you can stay on the FM band,  the more distance you will get.

12.  What distance will I get?
Low Power FM is line of sight and the permitted power output is strictly regulated by the FCC. Static distances generally range from 50' - 150'. Placing the DriveThruRadiosystem in an elevated located will increase your distance. NOTE: Any FM transmitter that exceeds this distance also exceeds the maximum power output permitted by the FCC and is therefore illegal. Do not use illegal transmitters.

13.  Is your DriveThruRadio.com FM Transmitter FCC approved?
Yes. Unlike most low power FM transmitters on the market today, DriveThruRadio's Mini-Digital FM Stereo Transmitter has undergone rigorous testing and it has been FCC approved.

14.  How long of a message can I broadcast?
Message time with today's technology is basically unlimited. Our MP3 Thumb-Drive Player holds up to 4 Gb of audio storage which equates to many many hours of audio content.

15. How do I obtain a license to broadcast with the DriveThruRadio.com Mini-Digital FM Stereo Transmitter?
This is an FCC Type Accepted transmitter and no special license is required. Just Plug & Play.

16.  Is it illegal to use overpowered/non-approved transmitters in the United States?
Yes,  It is always an federal FCC violation to use non-approved transmitters.  Additionally, states including New Jersey and Florida have passed legislation making it a state crime (Felony) to interfere with a commercial radio station or to broadcast using non-FCC approved equipment.    CLICK HERE REF PIRATE RADIO

17.  What do I use as an audio source?
We offer many different types of economical state-of-the-art commercial grade "digital" audio storage devices designed to operate 24/7 nonstop for many many years.  Our audio announcers have a (5) year warranty. Some of our recommended digital announcers are displayed below.        Visit Digital Audio Announcers


18.  I want to broadcast at a distance greater than 150', what are my options?
We also market our Talking-Billboards.com ,TransAM-100, FCC approved 100mW AM band radio station. It is capable of covering 1/2 to 2+miles depending upon antenna height, surrounding terrain, quality of ground conduction and soil composition. (Some installations have reached 4 miles.)

19.  What is the TransAM-100?
The TransAm-100 is an LPAM low power FCC approved/type accepted, short-range weatherized AM radio station that can be operated license-free. The TransAM-100 uses an integrated 102" stainless steel whip antenna and it is designed to continuously broadcast a repeating message to nearby AM radios 24/7.

20.  Why should I use use this technology?
Listening is one of the easiest and most direct ways to convey information. It is non-threatening, discrete and private. Your listeners are relaxed and so become absorbed in your message, which has been crafted for maximum impact. You have control over what they hear and can provide just the right amount of information to sell your product or service. Customers have become used to getting instant information and that's what the TransAM-100 provides. Some of our customers have even created a business around Talking-Billboards and they charge multiple customers to advertise their Radio Commercials on these billboards.

21.  What range can I expect from my TransAM-100 Radio Station?
This is the most frequently asked question and it is the most difficult to answer as each installation has its very own set of properties affecting the signal's propagation. Your distance/range will vary with each location and installation. Areas with good ground conductivity will offer much greater range than poor grounding areas. Areas with lots of bedrock, pavement or deep basements like in urban areas will have poorer range than small towns and rural areas with good soil. Coverage is typically between 1/2 mile to 2+ miles. Some installations have reached 4 miles depending on obstructions, local interference, antenna height, surrounding terrain, quality of ground conduction, soil composition and atmospheric conditions. It is always best to have an alternate location where you can mount your transmitter in case your initial location proves unacceptable.

22. Why should I transmit on AM rather than FM?
LPAM, Low power AM radio stations are permitted much greater output power by the FCC and they broadcast at much greater distances than their FM counterparts.  Additionally, there are more 'clear' frequencies on AM especially in urban areas.

23.  Can I choose a frequency that is being used by a commercial radio station?
NO. NO. NO. It is illegal to interfere with a commercially licensed radio station… Anyway, even if you did, you would get a very short range. It is very important that you choose a completely clear frequency to transmit on.

24.  Why is my AM radio station's range reduced at night?
AM radio signals travel further at night as they bend around the Earth's surface causing distant signals to make it into your area. This is called Skywave. The TransAM-100 is a low power transmitter and as such, any 'competition' with another commercial transmitter will reduce the effective range of your transmission. You should usually expect reduced range at night. Additionally, your signal may also be heard at some very unique distances due to varying weather conditions.

25.  What part of the AM band should I use?
We always recommend that you tune into the upper portion of the tunable range. Generally, if you stay above 1200 Khz you will attain greater distances than if you tuned to 530 AM.

26.  Can I operate multiple TransAM-100 transmitters on the same frequency?
Yes,  The TransAM-100 can be synchronized via the built-in standard RS485 interface. A special feature of the TransAm-100 is that multiple transmitters can be synchronized together for greater range. You can mount multiple units on your building (for example a shopping mall) and link them together so they will match signal phase and work together. Call us about information regarding "daisy chaining" multiple transmitters to broadcast the exact same message simultaneously. There are numerous methods that can be utilized to combine/sync the audio. This can be accomplished with the use of additional technology. The use of this technology can create an unlimited number of transmitters that can be connected  together. Without the use of  "specialized systems" you must ensure that the transmitters are spaced far enough apart so that they do not interfere with each other.    Basic syncing guidelines can be found here

27.  Can I overlap the range of multiple TransAM-100 transmitters on the same frequency?
Generally, No. Because frequencies are not absolutely exact, two TransAM-100s placed too closely together on the same frequency will interfere with one another and set up an annoying high pitched noise called heterodyne. What happens is, your radio gets confused as to which signal it should tune in to and so it tries to tune into both of the competing broadcasts and the final result is the heterodyne signal or audio flutter. The way to design a non-audio synced system would be to generally plan a coverage area, put up the first unit and determine your coverage area. If you are getting 1.5 miles range then the next transmitter would need to go approximately 3 miles away. (Remember, they transmit in circular patterns) All the cells would be planned depending on the range attainable by the other cells and of course available installation locations. The idea is not to get the transmitters too close together and not too far apart. Too close together and you have to much overlap, resulting in phase flutter, heterodyne and wasted coverage. Too far apart and you have hole in you coverage. The problem with this method is that your signal may travel farther during different times of the day/night, making it very difficult to precisely locate the transmitters.This is the Zerobeat method. There are several possibilities, however you will need a method to distribute the audio. Part 15 Microwave, cable, radio, phone line are a few possibilities.

28.  Do the messaging systems ever wear out if they run continuously?
No, theoretically, they should last forever! Your message is stored on our commercial player's digital flash memory electronic chips - there are no moving parts to wear out.

29.  Will I lose my recorded message if the power to the TransAM-100 fails?
No! The messaging chips are 'flash' technology, which do not require  power to retain data. As soon as the power is restored, the message will immediately resume playing. Various digital messagers are spotlighted below.

30.  Is there a maximum height that I can install my antenna/Transmitter?
No!  The FCC does not place any height resprictions on part 15 LPAM transmitters/Antennas.

31.  Are there any restrictions on what content I am permitted to broadcast?
Yes & No... As long as the broadcast does not violate the FCC's decency rules , you can broadcast anything including music and commercials which are prohibited in TIS/HAR stations.

32.  Can I utilize sponsors with my radio station?
Yes, Sponsors are not prohibited under Part 15 broadcsating as they are in TIS/HAR. Sponsorships and commercial advertising are permitted.

33. Can you exlain the pros and cons to using different frequencies on the AM band?
There is no single correct answer for each individual installation partially because, not all AM frequencies are available nationwide.

Generally:

Our most preferred frequency is 1610.
It is commonly recognized by drivers as a common informational radio frequency.    
Currently, on one commercial radio station broadcasts on 1610 which means less interference to your part 15 radio station.
It also means that your low power station will be lees suseptible to night-time skywave interference.   
High tension power lines tend to have less interferience with your radio station.   
Most vehicle radios receive the frequency.

Our Second preferred frequency(ies) are 1620-1700.
Commercial use of these frequencies is limited  to a very few radio stations which reduces the possibility of interference which allows better signal range for your part 15 station.
High tension power lines tend to have a little less interferience with your radio station.
Negative:  Not all car radios can currently receive these frequencies, especially 1630 and higher. Each year the situation improves as older vehicles are replaced. 1620 is preferred, because it appeared on many car radios before the other higher frequencies did.

The Third  preferred frequency(ies) are 540-1600.
These are the original AM band frequencies and every vehicle's  radio receives them.   
Negative: Daytime and Nighttime coverage in the lower half of the band is usually less.

Our Fourth preferred frequency is 530.
It is commonly recognized by drivers as a common informational radio frequency.  
Every vehicle with an AM radio receives the frequency.
530 is not assigned to any US commercial radio stations that could cause interference.
Skywave interferience may occur in the eastern US after dark from Caribbean and Canadian stations.
530's long wavelength signal fades slowly and can produce a large fringe coverage area.
Negative: Daytime and Nighttime coverage in the lower half of the band is usually less.

34.  Do I need a license for my Part 15 low power AM Radio station?
The answer is "NO!" The FCC has purposely created rules that allow small, low power AM radio stations to broadcast over a short radius without the need for a special license. You can have peace of mind when running the  FCC approved/type accepted TransAm-100. The TransAM-100 has the seal of approval from the FCC in the form of an FCC Type Acceptance ID Number.

35.   Can I run my station as a commercial enterprise?
The answer is absolutely and positively “YES”. The FCC will not regulate your station’s program content or application unless it violates standard FCC decency rules. You are free to decide whether or not you’d like to sell commercials or air time to businesses or sponsorships as a non- profit entity or simply run your station in your spare time as a hobby.

36.   What does the FCC say about penalties for operation of unlicensed equipment?
The Commission considers unauthorized broadcast operation to be a serious matter. Presently, the maximum penalty for operating an unlicensed or "pirate" broadcast station (one which is not permitted under Part 15 or is not a Carrier Current Station) is set at $10,000 for a single violation or a single day of operation, up to a total maximum amount of $75,000. Adjustments may be made upwards or downwards depending on the circumstances involved. Equipment used for an unauthorized operation may also be confiscated. There are also criminal penalties (fine and/or imprisonment) for "willfully and knowingly" operating a radio station without a license. DON'T DO IT!



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