House Hearing Focuses on AM Radio in Rural America

The House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee Tuesday held a hearing titled “Listen Here: Why Americans Value AM Radio.” The hearing follows the recent introduction of the AM for Every Vehicle Act, which would require automakers to maintain AM radios at no additional charge to consumers. The bill was a response to leading electric vehicle manufacturers opting to remove AM radios from their vehicles.

Much of the conversation focused on critical emergency alerts issued over AM radio. Representative John Joyce, a Pennsylvania Republican, explains; “My district is in the heart of rural Pennsylvania. Many of my constituents, farmers and rural residents alike, rely every day on AM radio to receive their local news, from weather to sports. We know that FEMA relies on am radio to provide alerts through the National Emergency Alert System to our communities. With the increasing prevalence of electric vehicles, some have raised concerned that the elimination of AM radio will restrict critical access to emergency alerts for those without cell phones. Some believe FM could soon follow, despite millions of Americans still relying on radio for their news, various talk shows and ultimately for their protection.”

Representative Robin Kelly, an Illinois Democrat, asked about the importance of AM radio for farmers and ranchers. Jerry Chapman, President of Woof Boom Radio of Indiana and Ohio, responded; “In rural America, AM oftentimes is the best vehicle that we have to get out talk programming, extended long-form. AM radio stations are the primary point that ag news reaches the community that it’s intended and, so AM is central to agriculture.”

The National Association of Broadcasters and the National Association of Farm Broadcasting support the AM for Every Vehicle Act. Listeners can show their support as well through Why I Listen dot com. (http://whyilisten.com)

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