NAB campaign to save AM radio
With AM radios being left out of numerous EVs due to reception interference, NAB unveils a new campaign highlighting the importance of AM radio in the car for news, community engagement, entertainment, and vital public safety information. The campaign includes a website with a grassroots call to action and new tools stations can use to highlight the importance of AM radio. NAB is urging all radio stations to participate in reminding listeners what makes AM radio unique.
“With a monthly audience of 82 million Americans, AM radio is a cornerstone of everyday life for many that also serves a critical, life-saving function during extreme weather and natural disasters,” NAB President and CEO Curtis LeGeyt said in a release. “Implementing cost-cutting measures at the expense of our nation’s emergency communications abilities is reckless and will have dire consequences for Americans that rely on AM radio in times of crisis. NAB’s ‘Depend on AM Radio’ campaign will elevate the voices of listeners who depend on AM radio and share opposition to removing the medium with automakers and members of Congress.”
The campaign comes as several automakers have removed AM radio from certain vehicle models, both EV and Internal Combustion Engine (ICE), types. NAB says its “Depend on AM Radio” campaign will share the dire implications of this decision and will amplify the voices of the Americans that AM radio reaches each month, estimated by Nielsen to be more than 82 million.
Public safety officials, policymakers, consumers, and broadcasters alike have been sounding the alarm on the public safety consequences of removing AM radio from cars. As the backbone of the nation’s Emergency Alert System (EAS), NAB says Americans depend on AM radio to disseminate timely, urgent information.
The trade group’s campaign also follows the calls from several politicians to keep AM radio in vehicles.
Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) has asked the heads of 20 major car brands to detail their plans for AM radio in their vehicles and urged they keep it right where it has been for decades as a matter of public safety and national security.
Last month, Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) unveiled steps he is taking to ensure all vehicles have AM radio, including writing letters to all major electric vehicle manufacturers “urging them to reconsider their decision to discontinue AM radio in their cars and trucks and to include the public safety tool as a stock feature.”
Seven former FEMA officials have asked the federal government to help keep AM radios in electric vehicles. In a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the group petitioned the government to seek assurances from automakers to maintain AM radios in EVs, arguing that the band is vital to the federal National Public Warning System. In a separate letter, FCC Commissioner Nathan Simington expressed his support of the former FEMA directors.