NAFB Expresses AM Radio Conerns to Sen. Debbie Stabenow
|RADIO ONLINE | Thursday, May 4, 2023
NAFB Send AM Radio Conerns to MI Senator Debbie Stabenow The Board of Directors of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) recently sent a letter to Sen. Debbie Stabenow (MI), chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, urging the preservation of AM radio in cars. In the letter, NAFB shares the importance of AM radio for farmers in rural America, who may not have reliable access to cellular or broadband networks, and rely on AM radio for daily agricultural news, weather, crop reports and entertainment.
The letter reads as follows:
"We are writing you today as the Board of Directors of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) on behalf of agricultural and rural broadcast stations and networks across America. Founded in 1944, NAFB is dedicated to serving the interests of the agricultural community. Farm broadcasters provide an invaluable service to producers and the agricultural community in rural America. Through this letter, we hope to express NAFB members' overwhelming support of broadcast radio and to cast a spotlight on the actions some automakers are taking to remove radio from their vehicles - especially AM radio.
In rural America, AM radio is critical for those without reliable cellular or broadband access. Farmers in the field and on rural roadways, not connected to cellular or broadband, also turn to AM radio for the latest weather updates, crop reports, local information, and entertainment. For farmers and ranchers, radio continues to be the primary source of daily agricultural news for listeners throughout the year. In fact, on average, ag radio consumers are listening for at least one hour on a typical weekday; more than 76% listen to the radio for agriculture markets, news, weather, and other information more than five days a week. Listeners to ag radio consistently rate their farm broadcasters high in credibility, accuracy, and timeliness for information.
Rural areas across the country are subject to extreme weather conditions such as tornados, flooding, droughts, wildfires, and hurricanes. When these extreme weather events occur and both the power and cell service are out, AM radio becomes a literal lifeline for rural Americans. As the backbone of the Emergency Alert System, the car radio often is the only way for people to get information, sometimes for days at a time."
As the professional trade association representing the interests of farm broadcasters, the agricultural community, and rural America, we are deeply concerned about the action some automakers have taken to remove AM radio from their vehicles. Of the top 20 automakers producing vehicles in the United States, eight of them have already removed AM broadcast from their electric vehicles, undermining the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) system for delivering critical public safety information to the public. One major automaker, Ford, has already announced its intent to remove AM radio from their entire fleet of non-commercial vehicles beginning in 2024.
We ask you help us convey to auto manufacturers the importance of AM broadcast radio to America's farmers and Americans living in rural communities across the United States. Removing AM radio from vehicles will put into serious jeopardy an important lifeline and source of information to rural America, not just during times of emergency events but every single day."
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