American Mobile Radio Boosts Capacity

Digital radio company American Mobile Radio Corporation announced last Wednesday that it has exercised a $52.9 million option to upgrade its satellites. The move will potentially double the channel capacity of AMRC's nationwide satellite-direct audio radio service (SDARS), scheduled for the year 2000.

AMRC will use two geosynchronous communications satellites made by Hughes Space & Communications, Inc. "The Max Power satellite is the most powerful commercial satellite available today," said Pete Lauenstein, AMRC Program Manager for Hughes. "It is the new standard for robust communications networks. This move dramatically strengthens AMRC's ability to better serve the marketplace."

Although it will be receiveable in homes, offices, and other fixed locations, SDARS is primarily intended for automotive applications. Cars and trucks equipped with tiny circular antennas---about the size of a silver dollar---and special receivers will be able to pick up 100 channels of continuous programming with "full digital clarity." AMRC was one of the first companies to be granted an FCC license for the new technology.