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Support Grows in Congress for Preserving AM Radio in Cars

- Key House Hearing, Senate/House Co-Sponsors

Members of a key congressional committee last week weighed in to support preserving AM Radio in cars as legislation advancing that goal garnered more co-sponsors from both parties in the House and Senate, continuing the strong bi-partisan support evident since the effort began. The measure is co-authored by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in the Senate and enjoys the support of half the Texas delegation in the House.

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee’s “Preserving Americans’ Access to AM Radio” focused on plans by some electric vehicle manufacturers to exclude AM Radio from their vehicles because of the effort needed to prevent interference caused by motors.

Other automakers are having no trouble including AM Radio in their new EV offerings, signaling that other interests, such as creating ongoing subscription revenue, may be at play.

The service’s role as the backbone of the nation’s emergency communications system has prompted concerns from emergency managers and a host of groups that rely heavily on AM Radio daily about any changes that could diminish Americans’ accessibility to it.

Witnesses from a sector of the auto industry and the consumer technology lobby spoke in opposition while broadcasters were represented by Melody Spann-Cooper, chairwoman and CEO of the Midway Broadcasting Corporation, who spoke to AM Radio’s role in cultural, news and emergency programming.


Filibuster-Proof Support in Senate

Just as the House hearing started, Cruz and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., announced they had secured 60 Senate co-sponsors for the legislation, the threshold required to avoid a filibuster in the Senate.

Support is evenly split between both parties in both chambers – with 246 co-sponsors in the House – putting the bill in a strong position for adoption by Congress this summer.

What the Bill Does

The AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act requires the Secretary of Transportation to establish within one year of the bill’s passage a standard for all new motor vehicle sin the U.S. to come with AM Radio reception and playback, with the feature clearly visible on the vehicle’s dashboard.

Between the legislation’s enactment and the new standard taking effect, cars lacking AM Radio receivers must be explicitly labeled as such for buyer.

Depend on AM Campaign

Radio broadcasters should continue weighing in with Congress directly and encourage listeners and other community partners to do the same.

1)    Station teams can weigh in directly HERE.
2)    Stations can encourage listeners to act by airing these Radio spots in English and Spanish to engage listeners in the campaign to keep AM Radio in cars. These spots, along with digital ads, talking points and more are part of NAB's ongoing Depend on AM campaign.

Questions? .

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