A Little Something On Border Radio

Wednesday, July 25, 12am

Border blasters are broadcast stations that do not possess the license of an external service. However, they are used to target the audience of other countries and often times you will hear border blasters be associated with the Mexican AM types of stations, which are known to cater to the needs of large parts of the US and Canadian audiences. The special Mexican border blasters feature broadcasting signals that area a lot more powerful than the ones provided by the American radio stations.

This is why these radio stations were played all over the United States territory from the forties and to the seventies. The matter often times led to discontent on behalf of the American stations because of their overpowering by the Mexican counterparts. Unofficially, these radio stations were also referred to as the X stations because of their call sign letters – XE ad XH for broadcast radio stations.   

The Agreement Concerning Frequency Modulation Broadcasting

Mexico and the U.S. signed the Agreement Concerning Frequency Modulation Broadcasting in the 87.5 to 108 MHz Band in 1972. The agreement stipulated the previously mentioned frequency assignments between the U.S. and Mexico. Border blasters can be found even today, despite of the fact they tend to be ignore because of the general decline of the AM radios throughout the United States territory. However, a few effective radiated power AM radios comparable to those pertaining to licensed commercial radios are still to be found under the license of the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation in Mexico. The following year after the agreement has been signed, the border blaster known under the name of XERB boosted its popularity thanks to the George Lucas feature for the American Graffiti soundtrack.   


The State Of Border Blasters Today

Border blaster stations regularly use Spanish as the main broadcasting language due to the fact they mainly target the audience located at the Mexican border. There are however such radios that have also decided to cater to the needs of Latin audiences. The American side currently leases radio stations belonging to Mexican holders of license or owners of radios, then feeding programming using American radio studios. The programs reach Mexicans with the help of satellite transmitters.  There are certain imposed rules when it comes to programming. For instance, according to the regulations imposed by the Mexican government, these border radio stations are obliged to broadcast "The Mexican National Hour" each Sunday at 8 or 10pm, along with the Mexican National Anthem which needs to be aired at midnight and again at 5 am. The identification of the radio stations needs to be done in Spanish and it is usually done during commercial breaks so that the American audience does not notice it.

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