Keep AM Radio In Cars...Text Congress

Apr 29, 2023 at 03:56 pm by WGNS

(UNITED STATES) Ford has announced plans to drop AM radio from most of its 2024 models. Local radio stations are asking listeners to help us contact Congress and text “AM” to 52886 and contact members of Congress to ask them to help keep AM radio in cars

This is truly a grassroots effort. So far 119,000 emails to members of Congress are asking them to keep AM radio in cars.


Local AM Radio History

WGNS’ Bart Walker said, “We must make Congress aware that the public uses AM radio. Since WGNS-AM signed-on-the-air over 76-years ago, it’s call letters have stood for Good Neighbor Station (WGNS).  A good neighbor is there to help in an emergency. Whether it’s a deadly tornado, flood, ice storm, blizzard, fire or other disaster. WGNS teams with emergency responders and broadcasts life-saving information.”

In reality, this is the genetic make-up of AM radio. The first radio stations were AM.  From the beginning these stations gave election results, news about weather, conversations with local leaders, play-by-play of high school, college and major league sports, Swap’n Shop and much more.

WGNS AM 1450 signed-on January 1, 1947, and has focused on being this community’s link to vital information. It is Rutherford County's first radio station.

This station helped to gain federal approval for AM stand-alone stations to get approval to rebroadcast its programs on separate FM frequencies to residents in its coverage area. In fact, WGNS began this new service on May 1, 2007, and was the first radio station in the United States to offer it. It serves Murfreesboro on 101.9 FM and Smyrna at 100.5 FM.  

Keep AM Radio In Cars 

This story is playing out across America. The National Association of Broadcasters just released the results of an AM radio audience survey: More than 80 million Americans depend on AM radio and removing it from vehicles is a dire public safety risk. 

Many communities only have an AM radio station. To take AM radio out of vehicles, would cut those citizens off of the emergency information grid. 

It is vital that listeners ask Congress to require auto manufacturers to keep AM radio in cars. Text “AM” to 52886 and tell them to keep AM radio in cars.

Local Emergencies

During an ice storm, residents were calling police to let them know that their electricity was off and they were freezing. The 911 lines were packed and police could not receive other calls. The police phoned WGNS and ask if we could help. 

WGNS announced that if your electricity was off, to phone the radio station. It cleared the police 911 lines. Since WGNS is a “talk radio station”—the calls were live on-the-radio. The announcer would ask if they needed medicine, food or other essentials. They also got the address to give to the electric utilities firm. Once a page of names and addresses was collected, it was sent by FAX to the power company.

Walker noted, “That’s a part of WGNS’ DNA. We did it in the past, we do it now and plan to keep our community informed and protected in the future.”

False Sense of Protection

He praised the government’s cable TV services in Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Rutherford County and MTSU. Plus, complimented the information that agencies send over cell phones and social media for amber alerts, weather bulletins and other emergency information.

However, during many tornadoes, ice storms, snow storms, floods, fires and other natural disasters that have impacted Tennessee—those services are gone for hours, days and sometimes weeks.

These disasters knock-down power lines and utility poles are destroyed—cell phone towers are twisted…and suddenly all of the news from cable TV and smartphone coverage oo social media and government agency websites are totally gone for weeks. Radio has the best chance of remaining!

Walker remembered, “WGNS AM’s 328-foot radio tower was toppled by a tornado on Easter Sunday, April 15, 2001. Despite this, we were back on the air within a few hours. The community's power crews and station engineers installed a 300-foot horizontal wire antenna. We continued to transmit emergency information.”

Text Congress:  Keep AM Radios In Cars is an information hub with a grassroots call to action where listeners can quickly and easily tell their members of Congress to advocate for AM radio in vehicles.

About 20 per cent of radio listeners, that's more than 47-million Americans, listen to AM radio. Plus, time spent listening to AM radio has increased over the past five years.

If you want to help keep free, local radio in cars, now is the time to act! Take action today and tell your legislators why you depend on AM radio. Your voice matters!

Right now, text your message to Congress:  text “AM” to 52886 and tell them to keep AM radio in cars.