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Keep AM Radio in Cars to Ensure Public Safety


America's public safety infrastructure is at risk if automakers remove AM radio from vehicles.

  • Policymakers should enact the AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act (S. 1669; H.R. 3413) to keep this vital service in their vehicles to ensure Americans can be alerted to impending danger.

Go deeper:

AM radio serves a vital role in our nation's emergency infrastructure as the backbone of the Emergency Alert System. When the power goes out and cell networks are down, the car radio is often the only way for people to get information, sometimes for days at a time.

  • With tens of millions of weekly listeners1, AM radio is also an extremely popular way for Americans to stay connected to both national and local news, sports and entertainment.
  • AM radio is highly important to agricultural communities, providing weather updates, crop reports and other information to farmers and ranchers.
  • AM stations also serve communities of color and underrepresented groups with in-language, religious, and other community-oriented niche programming.

Despite this, certain automakers have removed AM radio as a feature on electric vehicles and signaled that they may remove AM radio from new models of internal combustion engine vehicles in the future.2

  • Rightly, there has been a public outcry from members of Congress, Federal Communications Commission officials and former Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrators about removing AM radio from vehicles.

"Experts at [FEMA]...have been clear: eliminating the AM radio will put public safety at risk."3

On May 17, 2023, Sens. 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), Tom Kean, Jr. (NJ-7), Rob Menendez (NJ-8), Bruce Westerman (AR-4) and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-3) introduced the AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation would require the Transportation Secretary to issue a rule requiring vehicles manufactured in or imported into the U.S. to have devices installed that provide access to AM radio. It would also, among other things, ensure that AM is easily accessible to the driver and require motor vehicles that do not include AM radio (in the period between enactment and prior to the Transportation Secretary issuing the new rule) to be labeled as such to consumers in a clear and conspicuous manner.

The bottom line:

Congress should enact the AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act to keep AM radio as a standard feature in all vehicles. It is vital to public safety and to the tens of millions of Americans who depend on AM radio.

1 Nielsen; Westwood One,
2 Detroit Free Press,
3 Pete Gaynor, former administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in a recent op-ed.

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