House holds hearing on importance of AM radio in vehicles

Multiple automakers are scrapping or looking to scrap the age-old communication system in their car models.

Published: June 6, 2023 1:48pm

The House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology held a hearing on Tuesday aimed at preserving AM broadcast radio in new vehicles free of charge.

The hearing, “Why Americans Value AM Radio,” comes in light of the bipartisan “AM for Every Vehicle Act,” which calls on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to maintain AM radio as “standard equipment” that is required in vehicles going forward. It comes as several automakers are beginning to phase out the system in new car models.

Several individuals testified at the hearing, including Woof Boom Radio president J Chapman, who argued that AM radio is a vital, unique form of public emergency alerts for hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters. New Jersey Police Lt. Colonel Christopher DeMaise testified that AM radio is “life-saving” in numerous scenarios.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agreed with the importance of AM radio, including Florida Democratic Rep. Darren Soto, who called it the “last line of defense” for “critical information” and Georgia Republican Rep. Buddy Carter, who was “encouraged” to see some automakers responding by keeping AM in their manufacturing plans.

The legislation was introduced by New Jersey Democratic Congressman Josh Gottheimer, and is being led in the Senate by Republican Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Democrat Edward J. Markey. 

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