“No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”
AM-FM Stereo was a scam, perpetrated by the electronics industry on the American public, to convince them that new radio sets would broadcast AM signals in stereo.
Manufacturers of audiophile gear determined through scientific experiments beginning in the 1950s that the American public was too stupid to realize that their AM sets were not stereo and were in fact declining in sound quality with each passing year.
The conspiracy performed a key experiment in the late 1980s, as many AM stations attempted to broadcast drivel in low-quality AM stereo instead of the even lower-quality monaural drivel they normally transmit. The clever manufacturers adeptly took all the outdated equipment already on the shelves, and slapped onto it new labels touting "AM-FM stereo" (on the pretext that, while the AM was rubbish, the FM was stereo). The public, gullible enough to think that the word "stereo" applied to AM but too brain-dead to hear the difference, snatched up the products.
Realizing that they had been outsmarted once again, broadcasters turned off the stereo signal and went back to crappy monaural audio, then to even crappier talk radio. Eventually, they were purchased by drab businessmen with no imagination at all, through holding companies like Clear Channel, ensuring that the same dreck ends up on every station, as no one is listening anyway.
Having thus defeated the radio broadcasters, the hi-fi companies went on to perpetrate an even-bigger scam: buying record companies and creating a vinyl shortage, so that they could sell CDs at twice the price of records and prerecorded tapes even though the CDs are half the cost to manufacture.