US Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota is already a co-sponsor of the AM For Every Vehicle Act, but she took another opportunity on Saturday to voice her support for radio. Sen. Klobuchar published an op-ed in the Brainerd Dispatch emphasizing the band’s critical role in public safety and community information.
She cited the use of AM radio for broadcasting weather alerts, emergency messages, and local news, particularly in rural areas. Klobuchar’s concerns come in the wake of discussions by auto executives to eliminate AM radio options in new car models, especially electric vehicles. The Senator wrote of automakers, “Maybe from their headquarters it doesn’t seem like people care about AM radio anymore, but I bet if they took a drive through rural Minnesota, they would take a different view.”
Sen. Klobuchar reiterated that seven former FEMA administrators have warned about the risks, pointing out that the National Public Warning System relies heavily on AM radio to disseminate emergency alerts nationwide. She specifically mentioned Minnesota stations like Crystal Media’s KASM in Albany and Hubbard’s KWAD in Wadena, and how they have been crucial for broadcasting tornado and snow alerts.
“When there was flooding in Crookston in 2021 and 2022, KROX radio was there to help,” wrote the Senator, “Working in partnership with the city’s Emergency Operations Center to share the latest about the flooding, including information about road closures and the opening of a storm shelter where residents could turn for assistance.”
“We shouldn’t have to sacrifice safety, news and a way of life simply because some car manufacturers want to make more profits. Let’s get this passed,” she said in closing.
The bipartisan AM for Every Vehicle Act has broad support, including endorsements from the NAB, the National Association of Farm Broadcasters, and several members of the Federal Communications Commission. It has already passed through the Senate Commerce Committee, and will be eligible for a vote when Congress reconvenes in September.