North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement

North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement

North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement

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The North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement, usually referred to as NARBA, is a treaty that took effect in March 1941 and set out the bandplan and interference rules for mediumwave AM broadcasting in North America. Although mostly replaced by other agreements in the 1980s, the basic bandplan of NARBA has remained to the present day. Among its major features were the extension of the broadcast band from its former limit of 1500 kHz to 1600 kHz, and the shift of most existing AM stations' frequencies to make room for additional clear-channel station allocations for Canada and Mexico.

The agreement eventually governed AM band use in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti. In accordance with the treaty, clear channel frequencies were set aside across the radio dial, at a rate of about one per 100 kHz, and the 1230, 1240, 1340, 1400, 1450, and 1490 channels were reserved mainly for local stations. The agreement also officially expanded the upper limit of the AM broadcast spectrum from 1500 kHz to 1600 kHz. It required that most existing AM stations change frequencies, resulting in a massive shuffling of radio station dial positions.


Although a 1933 conference on the subject failed, a 1937 North American Radio Conference in Havana agreed on the principles for frequency allocations. In late 1937, the Inter-American Radio Conference...
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