First piece of legislation introduced to preserve AM radio in vehicles

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A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the U.S. Senate and House introduced legislation on Wednesday aimed at preserving AM radio in new vehicles.

The bill would direct the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to issue regulations to mandate AM radio in new vehicles without additional charge. Until the standard is in place, vehicles sold without AM radio receivers would have to be “explicitly labeled” for buyers.

Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA), one of the sponsors of the bill, said in a release Wednesday at least eight automakers have removed AM broadcast radio from their electric vehicles, including Tesla, BMW, Ford, and Volkswagen.

“Carmakers shouldn’t tune out AM radio in new vehicles or put it behind a costly digital paywall,” Markey said, adding his bill aims to ensure AM “does not become a relic of the past.”

Senate sponsors include Ted Cruz (R-TX), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Deb Fischer (R-NE). House sponsors include Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), J.D. Vance (R-OH) and Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ).

Senator Markey also noted endorsement for the bill from the U.S. National Association of Broadcasters and the National Association of Farm Broadcasters.

“There is a clear public safety imperative here,” said Jessica Rosenworcel, chairwoman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. “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 lifesaving information.”


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