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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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Politics

Progressives and conservatives join forces to save AM radio

May 18, 2023

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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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Don’t touch that dial! Here is something that is so bipartisan, it’s bringing together progressives and conservatives like Sens. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas. It’s AM radio, and lawmakers at opposite ends of the spectrum are joining forces to keep it in your car. 

“The issue we’re facing is that many auto and EV manufacturers are looking to take AM radio out of their vehicles just to save a few bucks,” Rep Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., said. 

Lawmakers introduced a bicameral bill called the AM for Every Vehicle Act. It would direct the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to create a rule requiring automakers to keep AM radio in their cars at no additional charge. 

BMW, Mazda, Polestar, Rivian, Tesla, Volkswagen, Volvo and Ford have said they’re discontinuing AM radios in their electric vehicles

Lawmakers said this is a safety issue because AM radio is used to put out emergency alerts for hurricanes, chemical accidents, terror threats and more. The stations have generator back ups, and the signal is very strong and can go through buildings.

“AM radio is resilient to cyber attacks, nuclear threats and natural disasters. So when the cellphone goes out, internet gets cut off, or television doesn’t work because there’s no power to your house. You can still use AM radio. It’ll be there,” Gottheimer said.  

Automakers said the electric powertrain interferes with the AM frequency. They also said there are other ways to listen to AM stations including streaming on an app. To address safety concerns, they said emergency alert systems have many redundancies, including FM, phones and NOAA weather radio. 

But lawmakers are not satisfied with those answers. 

“They have figured out how to build the fossil-free cars of the future. But somehow, they are incapable of incorporating this nearly century old technology into these new vehicles for the 21st century,” Sen. Markey said.

“Our more rural ag communities have a rich history of farm broadcasters, who for generations have helped family farmers and ranchers thrive. Automakers have no right to suddenly drop access to such an essential service,” Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., said in a statement. 

The bill was just introduced and needs to work its way through committees and votes. It’s being endorsed by the National Association of Broadcasters.

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Don’t touch that dial! We’re going to tell you about something that is so bipartisan it’s bringing together progressives and conservatives like Sens. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas. It’s AM radio, and lawmakers at opposite ends of the spectrum are joining forces to keep it in your car. 

 

“The issue we’re facing is that many auto and EV manufacturers are looking to take AM radio out of their vehicles just to save a few bucks,” Rep Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., said. 

 

Lawmakers introduced a bicameral bill called the AM for Every Vehicle Act. It would direct the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to create a rule requiring automakers to keep AM radio in their cars at no additional charge. 

 

BMW, Mazda, Polestar, Rivian, Tesla, Volkswagen, Volvo and Ford have said they’re discontinuing AM radios in their electric vehicles. 

 

Lawmakers say this is a safety issue because AM radio is used to put out emergency alerts for hurricanes, chemical accidents and terror threats. It also has a very strong signal that can travel great distances and go through buildings. We’re 30 feet below ground right now in a parking garage. FM is static, AM is still going strong. 

 

“AM radio is resilient to cyber attacks, nuclear threats and natural disasters. So when the cell phone goes out, internet gets cut off, or television doesn’t work because there’s no power to your house. You can still use AM radio. It’ll be there,” Gottheimer said.  

 

Automakers said the electric powertrain interferes with the AM frequency. They also said there are other ways to listen to AM stations, including streaming on an app. To address safety concerns, they said emergency alert systems have many redundancies, including FM, phones, and NOAA weather radio. 

 

But lawmakers aren’t satisfied with those answers. 

 

“They have figured out how to build the fossil free cars of the future. But somehow, they are incapable of incorporating this nearly century old technology into these new vehicles for the 21st century,” Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., said. 

 

Our more rural Ag communities have a rich history of farm broadcasters, who for generations have helped family farmers and ranchers thrive. Automakers have no right to suddenly drop access to such an essential service,” Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., said in a statement. 

 

The bill was just introduced and needs to work its way through committees and votes. It’s being endorsed by the National Association of Broadcasters.