Try unplugging your cell phone charger. The farther you are from the radio transmitter, the more the cell phone charger is likely to interfere with AM radio reception.
Ask your car dealer to check the AM antenna connection and the ground for the radio receiver. The AM antenna is not the long metal wire sticking up from your car and it is not the wire integrated in some front or rear windshields of cars. The AM antenna is usually somewhere inside the engine compartment.
If these two options don't solve your problem, then you're down to the in-car radio receiver itself. If you know of an area where you used to be able to hear the radio signal clearly in your car and now you can't, it's entirely possible that a component in the radio failed and the radio needs to be replaced. If you simply don't get good AM reception, it could also mean that the radio is poorly manufactured. Not all radio receivers are the same. Some are better than others, and price-point doesn't seem to determine whether one is better or worse.
Portable Radio Reception Issues (battery operated, tabletop, or hand-held receivers)
Try to get your radio near a window that faces Snohomish. The KRKO and KXA transmitter site is located near Snohomish, and reception improves when your radio is as close to the outside air as possible, and as far away from computers, flourescent lamps, touch lamps, CFL bulbs, LED bulbs, and aluminum insulation (among other items) as possible.
Maximize the AM antenna exposure to our signal. The metal telescoping antenna or the long white or black wire that comes with tabletop radio receivers is the FM antenna. Some radio receivers have an AM antenna built in to the device. If that is your device, you should try slowly repositioning your radio so that the broad side or front of the radio is oriented at a right angle toward Snohomish. Some radio receivers have an AM antenna that attaches to the back and looks like a black plastic loop. For loop antennas, you want to slowly reposition the loop until you hear the static go away and the signal becomes clear. Keep the AM antenna away from sources of interference.
Stereo Console Reception Issues (receiver part of a multi-component audio/video system)
Stereo consoles can be challenging because they are typically located in a closet next to a lot of electronic equipment like televisions and DVD players. These receivers often come with the black plastic AM loop antenna, but the length of wire is not long enough to place the antenna in a location that can get meaningful AM reception. There are a couple of solutions available to you in this case, particularly if you have a high end system and are willing to take a few extra steps to improve your reception. The solution requires an installer. Feel free to show these directions to the person who installed your system, and if they want, they can call us to ask questions.
The solution we describe was used on a high end home on Puget Sound that has a stucco exterior and used steel construction for the structure - a nightmare scenario for radio reception within the home. Here is what you do:
Find an exterior location to mount an amplified Belar AM loop antenna (and an FM antenna if you so desire.) Make sure the location is away from power lines and other sources of external interference. Try to keep your cable lengths as short as possible, but less than 150 feet.
Run RG-58 cable from the loop antenna (and RG-6 from the FM antenna) down to your equipment cabinet.
Connect the RG-58 cable to your receiver (or add a Belar AM distribution amplifier to your system if you want to feed multiple receivers and skip the amplification on the loop antenna itself)
Obtain the proper connectors and pay careful attention to grounding, particularly for the AM connector.
Once everything is connected, your reception should be crystal clear. If it isn't, check the connectors, and look for other potential sources of interference.