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Bipartisan, bicameral legislation introduced to keep AM radio in new vehicles

Led by Reps. Gottheimer, Kean, Menendez, Westerman, Gluesenkamp Perez and Sens. Markey and Cruz

WASHINGTON, D.C. — New bipartisan legislation Wednesday is being announced in the House — the AM for Every Vehicle Act — to require automakers to maintain AM broadcast radio in new vehicles at no additional charge.

Out of 20 of the world’s leading carmakers, eight have removed AM broadcast radio from their electric vehicles.

The AM for Every Vehicle Act is being led in the House by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), along with co-leads Reps. Tom Kean, Jr. (NJ-7), Rob Menendez (NJ-8), Bruce Westerman (AR-4), and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-3). The AM for Every Vehicle Act is being led in the Senate by Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Ted Cruz (R-TX).

The bipartisan, bicameral AM for Every Vehicle Act will:

  • Direct the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to issue a rule that requires automakers to maintain AM broadcast radio in their vehicles without a separate or additional payment, fee, or surcharge;
  • Require any automaker that sells vehicles without access to AM broadcast radio before the effective date of the NHTSA rule to clearly disclose to consumers that the vehicle lacks access to AM broadcast radio; and,
  • Direct the Government Accountability Office to study whether alternative communication systems could fully replicate the reach and effectiveness of AM broadcast radio for alerting the public to emergencies.

“I would think that if Elon Musk has enough money to buy Twitter and send rockets to space, he can afford to include AM radio in his Teslas. Instead, Elon Musk and Tesla and other car manufacturers are putting public safety and emergency response at risk,” said Rep. Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), the lead House sponsor of the AM for Every Vehicle Act. “The importance of AM radio during large-scale emergencies cannot be underestimated, and it has, without a doubt and without interruption, saved lives and kept our communities informed. When the cell phone runs out, the internet gets cut off, or the television doesn’t work because of no electricity or power to your house, you can still turn on your AM radio. I’m proud to introduce the bipartisan AM for Every Vehicle Act in the House to ensure that all auto manufacturers include AM radio in their vehicles to protect public safety.”

“As more and more Americans adopt electric vehicles, we must ensure that they are equipped with AM radio,” said Rep. Rob Menendez (NJ-8). “AM radio is – and will remain – an essential communications channel for emergency alerts and for disseminating news and other important information to residents of our district and communities across our country. I am proud to co-lead this bipartisan legislation which would ensure that EVs continue to be equipped with this basic but critical capability.”

“As our society navigates the rapidly changing landscape of technology, we must not lose sight of technology’s vital foundations. AM radio remains a lifeline for those who rely on it for news, talk shows, sports, and emergency communications. From severe weather warnings to Amber Alerts, AM radio has been a lifeline for communities in distress. We need to safeguard this essential tool that, for decades, has allowed our citizens to stay informed, connected, and safe when it matters most,” said Rep. Tom Kean, Jr. (NJ-7).

“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,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.  “We stand ready to provide any necessary support and expertise to the Department of Transportation and Government Accountability Office as they may need.”

“NAB commends Sens. Markey, Cruz, Baldwin and Fischer, and Reps. Gottheimer, Westerman, Kean, Menendez and Gluesenkamp Perez, for their leadership in advocating for AM radio listeners. 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,” said National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) President and CEO, Curtis LeGeyt.

“The New Jersey Broadcasters Association raised this issue with Rep. Gottheimer during our annual fly-in to Washington in early March, and the Congressman quickly became a champion of AM broadcasters in New Jersey and across the country. AM radio continues to serve a passionate and diverse listenership across New Jersey, offering music, news, sports, entertainment, and most critically, emergency information. Free, over-the-air radio has been a staple in automobiles almost as long as there have been automobiles and we thank Rep. Gottheimer, Reps. Kean and Menendez, and Senator Markey for their steadfast support of America’s AM broadcasters,” said New Jersey Broadcasters Association (NJBA) Executive Director Jordan Walton.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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