Buttigieg Finally Makes Statement About AM Radio


US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg is finally speaking out on the subject of protecting AM radio in EVs. Sec. Buttigieg was asked about how the Department of Transportation is responding to automakers removing the band at Washington Watch.

In February, seven former FEMA administrators sent a letter to members of Congress and Sec. Buttigieg saying, “AM radio serves as a linchpin of the infrastructure behind the federal National Public Warning System, which provides emergency-alert and warning information from FEMA to the public during natural disasters and extreme weather events.”

In his response, Sec. Buttigieg said, “We certainly recognize the importance and the important role that AM radio has played and continues to play with regard to people getting information that they need for safety, notably but not only when it comes to weather emergencies and one thing we know about these times is that weather emergencies are becoming more frequent and more severe. While I don’t know of a formal legal role that we have with regard to that, it’s certainly something that will be on our mind as we remain in dialogue with the auto industry and with related industries when it comes to transportation.”


  1. One of the big advantages of radio (AM or FM) is that it is a one to many mode. One transmitter can reach an unlimited number of receivers. Cell service is one to one meaning that it can only service a finite ammount of subscribers. An argument I have not yet heard.

  2. I am over 80. Grew up with AM, worked in AM, Amateur radio operator, etc. One time one responded FCC with Qualified people. Things have gone downhill. We NEED AM. Help America. Like many politicians he is next to worthless.

  3. RI has done numerous stories about the importance of radio in emergencies. Floods, Wildfires, Hurricanes, Tornados, Winter disasters, and on-and-on. If you think “everybody” has cell phones you are wrong. Even if you do those can be the first to be taken out (Ask Michael O’Shea about the Santa Rosa Fire Storms of 2017. 5 storms w/hurricane-force winds burned 9,000 homes. 48 died. Cell and TV/cable out but their AM station was live through the entire event.) And I may be paranoid, but are you paranoid enough to fear a national disaster?

  4. The FCC currently has no leadership. Nothing more than a paper tiger. The “tiger teams” that were supposed to deal with interference are a joke. Too much interference out there and insufficient enforcement staff. AC power line interference is worse since decades old power lines and insulators receive no or little maintenance.

    In 1959, the FCC at the time simply ordered television receiver manufacturers to include UHF channels on their sets or they could not be sold in the United States. That is leadership. The same needs to happen with automobile or other receivers; include AM channels and recall vehicles with non-AM receivers to retrofit a new receiver with AM channels.

    Last but not least, AM perhaps may be the most complex and expensive to administer. Many AM licensees are downgrading class B AM stations to get around directional antenna work; this happened to a vintage 1947 station near me. This adversely affects night RSS limits for other AM stations on the channel for hundreds of miles that may want to improve their signal.

  5. No one’s commenting that once the “horse is out of the barn” that now we’re trying to find it. Many reasons that AM radio has been trashed, and now it’s an issue? We have all the technology in the world to put usable signals on AM radio but it’s all being ignored. The FCC doesn’t enforce its rules on interference. AM bandwidth is embarrassingly low. During the final four we had an AM station on and people in the car said they couldn’t understand what the announcers were saying. AM programming is sadly narrow in most cases and the addition of flea-powered translators to “save” AM radio in many places is a joke. The comment that “no one listens to radio” isn’t quite correct. Yet. But, the big companies are certainly working on it. It may be too late to save the patient regardless of what anyone says.

  6. I am not sure what he even said. This guy is a joke. He’s afraid of his own shadow let alone making a comment that might make it seem as if he even takes a position.

  7. Seems like the Transportation Secretary would want to do more than “watch” the deletion of AM from vehicles traveling on highways for which his agency is responsible, carrying citizens whose tax dollars pay his salary.

  8. The secretary points out that there is no legal basis for requiring AM (or even FM) in car dashboards. And there isn’t. If Congress wants to pass a law requiring AM and FM in dashboards, Congress must pass such a law.

    But it is interesting that all these whining conservatives are campaigning for bigger government by executive decree.

  9. Typical Buttigieg non answer. I liked him when he first appeared on the national scene, but it didn’t take long to realize that he never really takes a stand on anything. This answer is a perfect example.

    • Funny because I could have sworn I just read that he wrote 1) He recognizes the importance of the AM band, especially when it pertains to emergency situations which are becoming more prevalent and 2) Because of this he will be keeping a close eye on the situation and determing if his Agency has the power to offer any solutions but 3) He is not certain what powers his Agency can wield over automakers in regards to mandating the inclusion of the AM band in vehicles.

      And in a true emergency doesn’t the word still get out with FM and cell phone alerts? Asking for a friend.

      • Only if you have cell service which not everyone has. There are portions of our state that don’t have reliable cell service, if they have it at all. We keep thinking everyone has the same connectivity that large cities (where these decisions are being made) have, which they don’t. This mistake was especially made evident during the pandemic shutdown of schools where administrators mistakenly thought all students had computers and internet connections.

      • Never mind that in a severe weather situation, cellular service is often one of the 1st casualties. But folks can still take selfies for uploading at a later point, so there is that …


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