Should Automakers Be Forced to Include AM Radio In New Cars? — Congressional Debate Continues

am radio congressional debate
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am radio congressional debate
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Photo Credit: Marília Castelli

Should new cars always include an AM radio tuner for emergencies? That’s the question a new legislative hearing hopes to answer.

The hearing will be held on April 30 and is titled, “Draft Legislation to Preserve Americans’ Access to AM Radio.” The House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Ranking Member Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) announced the hearing.

“Communities across the country, especially rule communities, rely on AM radio service for critical information. It plays an essential role during public emergencies when other alert systems that rely on the electric grid and cell phone networks don’t work, which is why it’s so alarming that some auto manufacturers are considering not installing AM radios in new cars,” shares Chairman Rodgers and Ranking Member Pallone. “We look forward to working together to preserve Americans’ access to this vital source of information.”

The hearing is open to the public and press and will be streamed online for anyone interested in seeing the debate. The hearing will focus on crafting draft legislative language for the AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act of 2024. The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) CEO Curtis LeGeyt says the hearing is welcome and needed to protect Americans’ access to AM Radio.

“With 82 million monthly listeners, AM radio is the backbone of the Emergency Alert System and serves as a trusted source of factual news and diverse programming in communities across the country,” adds LeGeyt. “Local broadcasters look forward to continue working with Chairwoman McMorris Rodgers, Ranking Member Pallone, and all committee members to ensure this critical communications medium remains accessible to listeners across the country.”

The draft language of this bill mirrors similar language in the AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act of 2023. That bill did not make it through the Senate in December 2023 despite 48 cosponsors in the Senate and 245 in the House of Representatives.