WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following the news that many automakers are planning to do away with AM radio receivers in their new vehicle models going forward – including electric vehicles (EVs) – Congress has unveiled a new bill that, if passed, would mandate that mode of radio wave reception in all motorized modes of transport going forward, citing its typical use to communicate emergency broadcasts to the general public.
AM radio has been a stalwart in cars and trucks for ages, but has mostly been left behind in recent years as more and more motorists partake of streaming services for their audio entertainment. However, some members of Congress are balking at the idea of abandoning it, and recently introduced the “AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act” that would require automakers to include an AM radio receiver in all makes and models, while not allowing the extra cost to be passed on to the consumer.
One of the co-sponsors of the legislation, Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), said that the plans of some automakers to forego AM radios going forward represents a potential danger to society in times of national or local crisis.
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,” he said. “Instead, Elon Musk and Tesla and other car manufacturers are putting public safety and emergency response at risk.”
Another of the bill’s co-sponsors, Rep. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), said that as emerging EV technology continues to be adopted in growing numbers, it’s vital to ensure that some basic modes of public communication are nonetheless included in these technological marvels.
As more and more Americans adopt electric vehicles, we must ensure that they are equipped with AM radio. 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,” he said.
The bill is supported by Federal Communications Commission and the radio broadcasting industry, but some trade groups – including the Zero Emission Transportation Association, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, the Consumer Technology Association, and TechNet – are backing automakers’ decision to abandon the technology, saying that the plan is poorly conceived and will hinder progress.
Unlike radio alerts, they can also contain an embedded hyperlink to guide the recipient to helpful information within seconds of receiving the alert; given that 85 percent of Americans with a cell phone own a smartphone, the vast majority of people receiving an alert can take advantage of this benefit,” a letter co-signed by the groups said that was sent to the bill’s 11 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Joe Mcdermott is a journalist, reporter and writer for SEARCHEN NETWORKS® as well as other independent news and media organizations in the United States. Joe works on a wide variety of topics and fields, has been featured in print and online in a variety of publications, from local to national, and helps keep a keen-eye on what’s happening in the automotive world for Auto Buyers Market.