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NAB AM Radio Toolkit

National Security Talking Points

AM Radio is Critical for U.S. National Security

  • Critical Emergency Communications: AM radio serves as the backbone of the Emergency Alert System (EAS), ensuring reliable communication during emergencies when cell towers and internet services often fail. Its wide-reaching signal is crucial for disseminating life-saving information in real time, especially in rural and remote areas. Ensuring that AM radio remains a standard feature in all vehicles is essential for maintaining an effective and reliable public warning system during times of crisis.
  • Resilience Against Attacks: Unlike other communication platforms, AM radio can be more resilient to various threats, including electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attacks, which could disable modern digital communications. Certain AM radio stations, such as primary entry point (PEP) stations, have been hardened to withstand such attacks, ensuring they remain operational when other systems are compromised.
    • U.S. defense leaders said that the Chinese spy balloon that made headway over American skies in 2023 could have had the capacity to produce an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack on America's power grid and communications infrastructure.
  • National Security Infrastructure: AM radio plays a vital role in maintaining a robust national security infrastructure. During natural disasters, terrorist incidents or cyber-attacks, AM radio’s ability to provide continuous and reliable communication is indispensable for coordinating emergency responses and keeping the public informed. This year alone, we have seen two high profile cell outages that occurred under “normal” operating conditions.
  • Data Privacy and Security: Unlike digital streaming services that collect and potentially expose user data, AM radio does not track listeners, making it a more secure option for disseminating information without compromising personal privacy. Protecting AM radio in vehicles also helps mitigate the risk of data breaches and espionage, particularly from foreign adversaries. A major consulting company estimates that “the overall revenue pool from car data monetization at a global scale might add up to $450-750 billion by 2030.”
    • Recent investigative reports have revealed alarming privacy concerns with connected vehicles. A New York Times article exposed how General Motors collected and sold detailed driving data from their vehicles without the owners’ explicit consent, leading to higher insurance premiums. Additionally, a report from Mozilla highlighted that over two dozen car manufacturers collect, store and sell a wide range of sensitive information, including location data, personal habits and even genetic information, often without providing meaningful opt-out options for consumers.

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