Support for Keeping AM Radio in New Vehicles


The call to keep AM radio in vehicles continues to grow. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.

>Photo by Philipp Katzenberger on Unsplash

Senate Bill 1669 is the AM Radio in Every Vehicle Act. This bill requires the Department of Transportation (DOT) to issue a rule that requires all new motor vehicles to have devices that can access AM broadcast stations installed as standard equipment. Emergency management groups have joined in supporting the bill as AM radio stations provide necessary information to the public during emergency situations. The National Association of Farm Broadcasting is also supporting the effort. NAFB president Joe Gill says AM radio is a vital resource for rural America.

“It plays a very important role in informing folks and keeping people informed when it comes to weather and other issues [such as] emergency alerts,” he said. “To have the notion were in your next new vehicle that you purchase that you don’t have access to AM radio, that’s a huge limiting factor. It takes that choice away from you.”

Gill says that having the support of emergency management groups is important for the cause of keeping subscription-free AM radios in cars.

“I think their message is so important. It’s so great to hear that there’s support for some of this legislation right now,” he said. “When storms hit, what are the first things that go out? Power and internet. Then where do you obtain your information? Radio is there. A lot of AM radio stations have backup generators. A lot of communities depend on getting that message out to the most people they can in the quickest and most efficient way.”

In the Senate, the legislation is cosponsored by Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.). In the House of Representatives, Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.-05), Tom Kean, Jr. (R-N.J.-07), Rob Menendez (D-N.J.-08), Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.-04), and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-Wash.-03) cosponsored the legislation.

A coalition of emergency management groups sent a letter supporting the bill to lawmakers back in June. The coalition includes Big City Emergency Managers, Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, International Association of Emergency Managers, International Association of Fire Chiefs, National Association of Counties and National Emergency Management Association.

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel and Commissioner Nathan Simington endorsed the bill as well. You can hear Sabrina’s full interview with Joe Gill in the July 15 AgNet Weekly.

Listen to Sabrina Halvorson’s This Land Of Ours program here.

Sabrina Halvorson
National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.

Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.

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