So it's available at various class airports, but I haven't seen a pattern to which do and which don't..
I don't recall suggesting that there was a pattern.
But if at ground level, you'll generally get the ATIS from 1 - 3 miles out from the field.
As far as ground-based ATIS reception, I live about 9nm (approx 11 statute miles) from the SYR airport and receive the ATIS here on the ground five by five. This is with a small ridge between my home and the airport (not direct line of sight). I use the ATIS all the time to fine-tune my feed's volume.
Not being a radio wave specialist, it seems logical to me that the ATIS would have the same reception footprint or greater than the approach frequencies for the airport, given that the ATIS actually can be received in the air at a greater distance than approach. Hence, I would think that if you can receive the approach frequencies (not center) from your scanner on the ground, you should be able to receive that airport's ATIS at a much greater distance than 1 to 3 miles. Is there something to this I am missing?