When AM Wins, We All Win


(By Deborah Parenti) On May 4, I asked, “Who Will Fight The AM Battle?” What a difference two weeks can make. In the past 36 hours, we have witnessed a remarkable chain of events. The bipartisan introduction of the “AM for Every Vehicle Act” in Congress. The highly improbable teaming of Senator Ed Markey and Senator Ted Cruz. Solid support from FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel, joining Commissioner Nathan Simington. All for a historic moment in broadcasting – a move to make AM radio a legal safety feature in all automobiles.

This follows on the heels of an effort by Congressman Greg Pence (R-IN) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chair Bob Latta (R-OH) who led 102 of their colleagues in sending a letter to several automakers to “express their concerns about reports that these companies removed, or are planning to remove, broadcast AM radio receivers from vehicles.”

Meanwhile, thanks to the NAB, over 187,300 emails have already been sent to the Hill and more than 13,400 Tweets from the public – and that’s just as of today. It’s all part of a “Depend on AM Radio” campaign. If you haven’t checked it out, you’ll be impressed at what this organization is doing on behalf of radio in leading the charge.

In the radio industry, sometimes it feels like we all can’t even agree on what day it is, but there seems to be a remarkable coalition gelling due to this crisis. This certainly qualifies as one in our industry, because if they come after AM, can FM be far behind? Maybe it’s too much to ask, but could this moment transcend into a habit – one that opens the door to more cooperation between us where the common good is more than a phrase?

There are many problems facing the industry and more specifically, AM radio. I have seen them cited in the comment posts on the Radio Ink website. To those who share sincere criticisms and concerns, let’s win this battle first and then really try to address the product issues. If something is worth fighting for, it’s worth improving. If we believe in its value, let’s make it more valuable. And we can – if we try.

On the other hand, to those who have nothing constructive to offer, please don’t rain on the efforts of others. You may not think AM is worth saving, and that’s your right, but there are 102 Congressional representatives, millions of listeners, and hundreds of thousands of letter writers and tweeters who do. If AM survives on the dashboard, it won’t hurt you. On the other hand, if it doesn’t, many lives might not be as informed, entertained, and yes, saved, thanks to AM radio.


  1. How about a touch of reality here? A feel good law that will accomplish nothing. No one listens to AM because of man-made noise and this has been for the past decade or so.

  2. We need to extend the vehicle AM radio mandate to all radios manufactured which feature the FM band. The AM radio measure is a good start but needs to expend to all radio receivers sold in the US.


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