AM BROADCASTING - A bipartisan coalition in the United States Congress has introduced the AM for Every Vehicle Act – legislation that would require federal regulators to mandate AM radio in new vehicles without an additional charge.
The Act, introduced by Senators Ed Markey (MA), Ted Cruz (TX), Tammy Baldwin (WI), Deb Fischer (NE), Ben Ray Luján (NM) and J.D. Vance (OH), and Reps. Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), Bruce Westerman (AR-4), Tom Kean, Jr. (NJ-7), Rob Menendez (NJ-8) and Maria Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-3), aims to ensure that automakers maintain access to AM broadcast radio in their vehicles.
The legislation would direct the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to issue a rule requiring AM radio inclusion without extra fees, and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study alternative communication systems’ effectiveness in replicating AM radio’s reach and role in emergency alerts. The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and FCC Commissioner Nathan Simington have expressed support for the Act. The move follows carmakers, including BMW, Ford, Mazda, Polestar, Rivian, Tesla, Volkswagen, and Volvo, removing AM radio from their electric vehicles.
“For decades, free AM broadcast radio has been an essential tool in emergencies, a crucial part of our diverse media ecosystem, and an irreplaceable source for news, weather, sports, and entertainment for tens of millions of listeners,” said Senator Markey. “Carmakers shouldn’t tune out AM radio in new vehicles or put it behind a costly digital paywall. I am proud to introduce the AM for Every Vehicle Act to ensure that this resilient and popular communication tool does not become a relic of the past.”
“Each day, millions of Americans turn to AM radio to stay up to date on life in their community, engage on the issues they care about, or to be simply entertained during rush hour,” said Senator Cruz. “AM radio is a critical bulwark for democracy, providing a platform for alternative viewpoints and the ability for elected officials to share our efforts with our constituents. Congress should act swiftly to pass this bill so Americans retain access to news, music, talk, and emergency alerts on the public airwaves. I’m glad to work with Senator Markey on this bipartisan legislation to ensure carmakers do not limit Texans’ access to radio in their vehicles.”
NAB President Curtis LeGeyt commented, “NAB commends Sens. Markey, Cruz, Baldwin, Fischer, Luján and Vance, and Reps. Gottheimer, Westerman, Kean, Menendez and Gluesenkamp Perez, for their leadership in advocating for AM radio listeners. This legislation ensures that the tens of million Americans who depend on AM radio for news, entertainment and critical safety information each month can continue to have access to this reliable communications medium. As the backbone of the Emergency Alert System, AM radio is instrumental in promptly disseminating vital information across all mediums during crises, ensuring that communities remain safe and well-informed. America’s local broadcasters applaud the bill’s authors and supporters for recognizing AM radio’s critical role in our nation’s public safety infrastructure.”
(This article was first published in Radio Ink, Radio’s Premier Management and Marketing Magazine.)