The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports.The CRTC's decision to award three new radio licenses in the Toronto area draws attention to the regulator's role as gatekeeper of the FM and AM waves.  The two FM licences went to stations aimed at people who were not served by an existing service. There will be a strong market for the "urban music" station, which will play blues, soul, rap and hip-hop. The aboriginal station may have a tougher row to hoe, but it will probably make it. The granting of a licence to an AM station geared to seniors is maybe the most interesting of the three. It recreates similar programming to that offered by CFRB and CKEY in the 1960s and 1970s, to an audience that is used to listening to AM. It also opens up the idea of using AM as a sort of open market for specialty radio. And why not? Couldn't AM be the equivalent of Category 2 digital stations, in which licences are given out to risky market-niche projects? The CRTC could simply ensure that signals don't overlap. There would be no need to provide precise business plans. If a station failed and investors lost their money, so what? It's basic capitalism. Quite likely, concepts would be created that would make other investors a lot of money. Some things were made for AM radio. Take, for instance, music of the 30s and 40s. It was recorded on mono for AM radio. What about political or religious stations (some of which may have high, if unintentional, entertainment value)? Wall-to-wall comedy radio might work. So could a radio spin-off or equivalent of the Weather Network. Public service organizations could use AM to draw attention to charity projects and entice people to volunteer. Advocacy groups could start their own short-term stations. A decade ago, people predicted that AM would be as dead as short wave. But car radios still have the AM line, since talk radio and a few music stations survive on it. Why not rejuvenate it as something interesting, creative, and a little offbeat, where people can take a plan, try it out, and see if it works?