A possibly dumb question: I'd like to know if commercial AM radio stations broadcast a carrier tone along with signal sidebands. To ask my question is a different way; if I could measure (view) the spectrum of a transmitted commercial AM broadcast signal presumably I'd see the two symmetrical sidebands' spectral energy. But would I also see a single narrowband spectral component, a carrier tone, in the center of the two sidebands? (I've searched and searched the Internet trying to find out if commercial AM broadcast signals are suppressed-carrier AM signals. But I've found no clear answer.)
AM broadcast stations do exactly that: broadcast AM. Not single sideband, double sideband with suppressed carrier, or anything else. That means a carrier in the middle and a sideband on each side.
The fact that the carrier is a significant component of what is transmitted should also be obvious from a few seconds thought. By definition, AM changes the amplitude of a carrier to encode the baseband signal. At full or 100% modulation, the carrier amplitude varies between 0 and some maximum, with half that value being the average. Obviously there is significant carrier component in the result.
This afternoon I obtained a 45-year old radio theory textbook and found a diagram of a class-C vacuum tube amplifier circuit. The author claimed that this circuit is used to generate broadcast AM radio signals.
The amplifier acts a nonlinear 'switching device' such that when the sum of the carrier, \$f_c(t)\$, plus the so-called "modulating" audio signal, \$f_a(t)\$, is applied to the amplifier the amplifier's output contains a theoretically infinite set of spectral components. But one of the spectral components is of the form:
$$R(t) = \left[1 + f_a(t)\right]\cos(2\pi f_c(t))$$
All the amplifier's output spectral components are then filtered out except \$R(t)\$ which is the final transmitted signal. So the '1' inside the brackets of the \$R(t)\$ expression answers my question and agrees with the comments and answer you folks graciously provided me.