In response to automakers announcing the elimination of AM radio in select vehicles, the National Association of Farm Broadcasting is taking steps to keep AM radio in the dashboard. NAFB has spoken with the Federal Communications Commission and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, as well as sent letters to leadership of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees.
NAFB President Joe Gill says the focus right now is on educating others about the issue. Gill; “There’s a lot of folks right now who are unaware of this issue. So, educating our cohorts in the industry and also legislative leaders, because there is no legislation on the books regarding this issue. There is nothing to mandate this to be an item in vehicles.”
Ford Motor Company will not include AM radios in most of its new 2024 vehicles, but will keep AM radio in commercial vehicles. Meanwhile, other companies, like Tesla, have already removed AM radio from their electric vehicles.
Gill says the response so far has been overwhelmingly supportive of keeping AM radio in vehicles. He says; “You can’t just plug in your phone or have an app because, let’s face it, rural broadband is still not accessible in some areas. And once again, it comes down to safety as well when it comes to severe weather. And a lot of legislators did support us verbally and they want to know what they can do to try and keep AM radio in the dashboard.”
Gill says NAFB research shows the importance of AM radio to rural America. Gill says; “As you look at some of the research on how many radios actually farmers and some of those folks have in their home, and the length of time that they listen and how many days a week that they listen, and for some that is their only avenue for information. The top three things that are important to our listeners are markets and weather and local news, and to try and duplicate that in a different platform, I don’t think is attainable.”
Gill encourages rural America to provide more outreach moving forward as well. He says; “I think as we move forward, we’re going to be asking the listeners to maybe speak up to their local farm broadcasters, their local AM radio station, and also their leadership in Washington, D.C. as well, and tell them how important AM radio is to them.”
NAFB is partnering with the National Association of Broadcasters and the National Alliance of State Broadcasters Association, who are both also advocating for keeping AM radio in vehicles.