UPDATE: Save AM Radio in Vehicles

May 07, 2023 at 04:40 pm by WGNS

Photo of a radio in a Ford vehicle

(WASHINGTON, DC) The National Association of Broadcasters’ (NAB) efforts to keep Ford Motor Company and other vehicle manufacturers from taking AM radios out of vehicles is starting to have an impact. The public is encouraged to text members of Congress (text 52886) and tell them to keep AM radio stations in all new vehicles sold in the U.S.

Ford is the first US gas engine vehicle manufacturer to say they are taking AM radios out of most of their vehicles in 2024. Already, several battery-operated vehicles have eliminated AM, saying that the electric engines create interference on AM. 


Ironically, Toyota Prius Primes are plug-in hybrids that run totally on electric for approximately 25-miles and then switch to hybrid gas engines. Many are on Middle Tennessee streets and owners say they pickup WGNS at AM 1450 easily without any interference when the car is in the electric mode. It makes you wonder if the electric motor interference issue is really an issue?

When FM was getting started, Congress mandated that all new vehicles that offered the standard AM radio reception, that they must also be able to receive FM transmissions. NAB encourages persons to text the U.S. Congress and encourage them to do the same for AM. 

Plus, NAB's data from Neilson shows that over 80-million persons listen to AM radio each month. 

Local AM radio stations keep us connected. AM provides local news, local sports, local weather and traffic. And during emergencies, local stations offer a lifeline to keep us safe, informed and connected.

Text U.S. Congress 

When you text Congress at 52886, be sure that you include your name, street address, zip code and email. Plus, obviously include your reasons why AM radios should not be taken out of vehicles that are sold in the United States. 

Some of the comments being texted to Congress are: 

  • Unlike satellite radio or streaming, local broadcast radio is always available with no cellular data, subscription or signal required. Despite this, some auto manufacturers have recently removed AM radio from their electric vehicle models.
  • Because of the critical service AM radio provides, urge automakers to keep AM in all vehicles.
  • Numerous lawmakers, regulators and former FEMA administrators agree that AM radio is critical to ensuring that emergency information can reach the public during times of crisis. Taking AM radio out of cars will put Americans at risk.

Farm Broadcasts

The National Association of Farm Broadcasting is contacting the Senate Agricultural Committee saying, "We ask you help to 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 Americans into serious jeopardy. AM radio is an important lifeline and source of information to rural America, not just during times of emergency events, but every single day." 

AM Radio Gets Emergency Information Out

For those who have lived in this area for a while, they know that when tornadoes hit and tear down the lines that carry the internet and cable TV, WGNS has been offering 24/7 emergency information from the emergency agencies and medical services that are in this community. 

Whether it’s a tornado, ice storm, snow, COVID pandemic or other emergency, WGNS has established a 76-year history of getting this information out.

Again, it is important to text members of Congress (text 52886) and tell them to keep AM radio stations in all new vehicles sold in the U.S.

Did you realize: 

  • AM radio stations continue to function during power outages, natural disasters or other emergencies, providing critical updates and information to the public. Wireless Emergency Alerts may not be as reliable in these situations, as cell towers can be damaged or overwhelmed by high call volume.
  • AM radio stations can broadcast emergency information in multiple languages, ensuring that all members of our local communities receive crucial updates, regardless of the language they speak.
  • AM radio broadcasts do not require listeners to opt-in or sign up for alerts, ensuring that vital information is available to everyone. In contrast, Wireless Emergency Alerts may only be received by those who have compatible devices.
  • Whereas wireless alerts can tell you what is happening and where, AM radio can share many more crucial details and actionable information, such as how to stay safe, when the storm will pass or where help is located. Wireless alerts typically include “Check local media” directing people to their local AM station for lifesaving information.
  • AM radio stations also provide a real human on the line to help those impacted by the disaster. Recently during a tornado emergency, a local AM radio deejay helped direct emergency services personnel to a caller live on the air, getting them vital help, they needed.

AM Radio is needed in vehicles

The The National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations (NASBA) noted that there are 4,475 AM radio stations licensed in America, and approximately 1,300 of them are not streamed and have no presence on the FM band. That means listeners in those towns would be left in the dark. 

In addition, FEMA statistics show that 99 per cent of AM stations participate in the Emergency Alert System. In fact, 90 per cent of the Primary Entry Point stations are AM stations, which cover 90 per cent of the U.S. population.

The most telling survey result, according to NASBA, is that 8 in 10 of the radio stations responding listed their level of concern as 10 out of 10 when it comes to AM being eliminated in the car. 

Ford Motor's Home State

Eight U.S. House of Representatives from Michigan, Ford Motor Company's home state, have written to Ford's board of directors making a case for keeping the legacy band in cars.

The letter notes, “Not only is AM still widely listened to for entertainment purposes, especially in rural areas, but it is vitally important for emergency services in times of trouble or natural disaster. Removing AM capability from future vehicles could jeopardize the safety and livelihood of millions of your customers.”

Text Your Response To Congress Now

The public is encouraged to text members of Congress (text 52886) and tell them to keep AM radio stations in all new vehicles sold in the U.S.

When you text Congress at 52886, be sure that you include your names, street address, zip code and email. Plus, obviously include your reasons why AM radios should not be taken out of vehicles in the United States. 

Sections: News