U.S Senator JD Vance Co-Sponsors Bipartisan House Legislation to Keep AM Radio Available in New Vehicles

U.S. Senator JD Vance (R-OH) joined legislation to prevent the end of AM radios in new vehicles.

The bipartisan and bicameral AM for Every Vehicle Act sponsored in the Senate by U.S Senators Edward Markey (D-MA) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), along with U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), and Vance would order the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to issue a rule requiring automakers to keep AM broadcast radio in their automobiles without a separate or extra payment, tax, or penalty.

Sen. Vance told The Ohio Star that it’s imperative that automakers continue to install AM receivers into their vehicles.

“We must ensure automakers continue to install AM receivers in their cars at no additional cost to consumers,”  he told The Star.

The measure stems from a letter issued by Markey to 20 of the world’s top automakers last year, asking them to keep AM broadcast radio accessible in their vehicles. Eight of the 20 automakers BMW, Ford, Mazda, Polestar, Rivian, Tesla, Volkswagen, and Volvo, had done away with AM radio in their electric vehicles. Moreover, Ford signaled that AM is no longer needed in its non-electric cars, either.

According to Markey, AM radio is an irreplaceable source of news, weather, sports, and entertainment for tens of millions of listeners.

“Carmakers shouldn’t tune out AM radio in new vehicles or put it behind a costly digital paywall. I am proud to introduce the AM for Every Vehicle Act to ensure that this resilient and popular communication tool does not become a relic of the past,” Markey said.

The AM for Every Vehicle Act will require any automaker that sells automobiles without access to AM broadcast radio before implementing the NHTSA regulation to explicitly inform customers that the vehicle doesn’t have this feature. The legislation would also instruct the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate whether other communication methods could reach as many people as AM broadcast radio and do so with the same efficiency level.

According to Cruz, Congress should act swiftly to pass this bill, so Americans retain access to news, music, talk, and emergency alerts on the public airwaves.

“AM radio is a critical bulwark for democracy, providing a platform for alternative viewpoints and the ability for elected officials to share our efforts with our constituents,” the senator said.

Fischer said that “Automakers have no right to suddenly drop access to such an essential service.”

The legislation has also garnered the support of the Federal Communications Commission.

“There is a clear public safety imperative here. Having AM radio available in our cars means we always have access to emergency alerts and key warnings while we are out on the road. Updating transportation should not mean sacrificing access to what can be life-saving information,” Jessica Rosenworcel, chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission, said.

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the National Association of Farm Broadcasters also endorsed the AM for Every Vehicle Act.

“This legislation ensures that the tens of millions of Americans who depend on AM radio for news, entertainment, and critical safety information each month can continue to have access to this reliable communications medium. As the backbone of the Emergency Alert System, AM radio is instrumental in promptly disseminating vital information across all mediums during crises, ensuring that communities remain safe and well-informed. America’s local broadcasters applaud the bill’s authors and supporters for recognizing AM’s critical role in our nation’s public safety infrastructure,” Curtis LeGeyt, president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters, said.

Vance told The Star that he is proud to co-sponsor this important bipartisan legislation.

“I’m proud to cosponsor this bipartisan legislation and to stand with every Ohioan who depends on AM radio for their news, sports, and emergency information,” Vance told The Star.

U.S. Representatives Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-05), Tom Kean, Jr. (R-NJ-07), Rob Menendez (D-NJ-08), Bruce Westerman (R-AR-04), and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (R-WA-03) have also introduced the AM for Every Vehicle Act in the House. This week, 100 House members wrote to all the major automakers requesting that AM remain in all new automobiles.

Seventy-seven radio stations, the majority of which use the AM band and reach at least 90 percent of the U.S. population, have backup communications systems and generators that enable them to keep broadcasting news to the public both during and after an emergency. This allows listeners to hear them from great distances.

Reportedly more than 47 million Americans, or roughly 20 percent of all radio listeners, listen to AM radio, and over the previous five years, AM radio listening time has increased.

– – –

Hannah Poling is a lead reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahPoling1. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “JD Vance” by JD Vance.









Related posts