Congress introduces a bill to have AM radio in every vehicle

Photo credit: Marília Castelli

Congress is considering requiring automakers to install AM receivers in vehicles for safety reasons. The news comes as many automakers have plans to phase out AM receivers in vehicles sold in the US

“For decades, free AM broadcasting has been an essential resource in emergencies, a critical part of our diverse media ecosystem, and an irreplaceable source for news, weather, sports and entertainment for tens of millions of listeners,” said Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA). “Automakers shouldn’t turn off AM radio in new vehicles or house it behind a costly digital signal paywall.”

Ed Markey is just one of several co-sponsors of the proposed legislation, the AM for Every Vehicle Act. The bill has bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. Other supporters of the bill include Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and JD Vance (R-OH). ). House Representatives Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Buce Westerman (R-AR), Tom Kean Jr. (R-NJ), Rob Menendez (D-NJ) and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-WA).

If the AM for each vehicle law Once approved, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will be directed to enact a rule requiring automakers to enable AM ​​broadcasting in all vehicles without a separate additional payment, fee, or surcharge for access to the AM receiver . It also mandates the Government Accountability Office to investigate whether alternative communication methods could fully mimic the effectiveness of AM radio for public emergency alerts.

BMW, Mazda, Volvo, Volkswagen, Tesla and even Ford have removed or plan to remove AM radios from their electric vehicle models. When asked why, Ford company spokesman Wes Sherwood said, “Most AM stations in the US, as well as a number of countries and automakers worldwide, are modernizing radio by offering internet streaming via mobile apps, FM, digital and satellite radio options offer.” “

There are still over 4,000 US-based AM radio stations spread across the United States. AM radio serves as the backbone for the country’s emergency alert system, making it vital to keep it up during emergencies such as natural disasters.

“Unlike FM radio, AM radio operates at lower frequencies and longer wavelengths, allowing it to penetrate solid objects and travel farther than other radio waves,” adds Senator Ed Markey. “As a result, FEMA’s National Public Alert System — through which FEMA communicates important safety warnings to the public — is operated over AM radio stations.”