Rep. Gottheimer Seeks to Preserve AM Radio in Vehicles
|RADIO ONLINE | Tuesday, March 21, 2023|
Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) unveiled the steps Tuesday he's taking to ensure all vehicles continue to have AM radio, including writing letters to all major electric vehicle manufacturers "urging them to reconsider their decision to discontinue AM radio in their cars and trucks and to include the public safety tool as a stock feature."
The letter reads, in part:
"During Hurricane Sandy, AM radio was used to broadcast emergency updates and evacuation orders to people who were affected by the storm. It was also used to spread critical information about relief efforts and post-storm recovery efforts. The importance of AM radio during these large-scale emergencies cannot be underestimated, saving lives and keeping our communities informed.
"As more individuals switch to EVs and given the crucial role that AM radio plays in emergency management situations, I strongly urge you to reconsider your decision and include AM radio as a stock feature in your EVs. Doing so would demonstrate your commitment to the safety and well-being of all Americans, especially during times of crisis."
Rep. Gottheimer is also calling on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to "add AM radio to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards to require that all automakers, including EV manufacturers, include AM radio as a stock feature in their vehicles. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards are the minimum safety standards that a manufacturer must meet when making a vehicle -- including requirements related to airbags, brakes, seatbelts, tires, controls and displays."
Rep. Gottheimer also pointed to earlier Tesla models, along with EVs from other manufacturers, that have very good AM reception saying, "if Elon Musk has enough money to buy Twitter and send rockets to space, he can afford to include AM radio in his Teslas."
Before his election to Congress, Gottheimer served as Senior Counselor to the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and has worked closely in developing the latest iteration of the emergency alert system.
In response to the actions announced by Rep. Gottheimer, NAB President and CEO Curtis LeGeyt said, "NAB thanks Rep. Gottheimer for his leadership in taking action to help preserve AM radio's vital role in the car. AM radio not only serves as the backbone of the nation's Emergency Alert System that keeps Americans safe when disaster strikes, but local stations also provide important news and information, sports coverage, weather and community affairs programming. Local radio has a critical place in the auto dashboard and broadcasters remain committed to collaborating with auto manufacturers to ensure America's 47 million AM radio listeners can easily access this essential service."
New Jersey Broadcasters Association (NJBA) Executive Director Jordan Walton said, "There are plenty of business and economic reasons to preserve AM radio, but public safety, using the publicly owned airwaves our stations have been lucky enough to license for 100 years, is the best reason."
The New Jersey Broadcasters Association made the issue of AM receivers being eliminated in EVs its top priority when the association called on members of the New Jersey Congressional delegation in Washington, DC earlier this month. The NJBA will continue to work with Rep. Gottheimer and other members of Congress helping to lead the charge to save AM radio.
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