NAB Fights Back As Automakers Try To Wriggle Away From AM


    In the wake of a bitter blog post targeting the radio industry from an automaker interest group, the NAB is firing back on behalf of broadcasters and AM radio. The NAB puts claims that leaving AM in electric vehicles will cost the auto industry $3.8 billion by 2030 under the microscope.

    That $3.8 billion price tag was named in a Center for Automotive Research study funded by the Alliance for Automotive Innovation. The study comes as some EV makers desperately wish to halt the AM For Every Vehicle Act as it nears the finish line in Congress.

    Automakers say addressing this would be costly as electromagnetic interference from EV components distorts AM signals. The NAB points out, however, that this cost is not exclusive to AM radio, as EMI mitigation is also necessary for other electronic systems in EVs.  Another claim by AAI is that EMI mitigation for AM radio adds significant weight to EVs, impacting battery range. However, the report found that a typical ferrite core filter used for this purpose weighs only about 2.2 pounds, a minuscule fraction of an EV’s total weight.

    Addressing AM radio interference is also seen as a temporary challenge. Future vehicle models are expected to have designs optimized for electromagnetic compatibility, reducing the need for additional EMI mitigation for AM radios.

    In its estimate of the cost of AM to automakers, the Congressional Budget Office said, “Based on sales data, this would require manufacturers to update media equipment and infotainment software in about 2.5 to 3 million EVs per year. Because the unit costs of those updates are small, CBO estimates the total cost of the mandate would be several millions of dollars each year the requirement is in effect.” This falls well below the AAI/CAR estimate.

    As automakers continue their crusade to cut costs and curb free entertainment sources from the dashboard’s future, broadcasters remain vigilant and push forward as the AM Act support nears simple majorities in both houses of Congress.


    1. Wow. Common sense dictates the real reason and it’s in the last paragraph. Automakers are continually trying to curb free entertainment sources from the dashboard. On one hand, “free”. On the other hand “fee”. If you were a car maker which would you choose ?

      Broadcasters need to make sure their products are wanted by the consumer. A car is a way to get from point “A” to point “B”. There’s no rule that says it has to be AM/FM. Not even the rule stating “it’s always been that way”. We know that not “everybody” is connecting and streaming in their vehicles. Eventually, the way things are going, they WILL be if broadcasters don’t get their act together. We KNOW the problems. We need to FIX them asap.

      • Dave has good points. Radio as an industry is to blame for the irrelevance of AM. AM is a vast wasteland of Salem Radio type stations– syndicated right wing talk shows, paid organized religion infomercias that just suck money out of old people, and other pre recorded infomercials. 99% of the public could care less about this type of suspect content.

    2. Mr. Colletta assumes the unwashed public doesn’t mind picking up the tab for what was and still is free entertainment via OTA radio. Streaming costs end users’ money. Maybe they don’t care. But when we suffer the next serious recession/economic depression, OTA radio will be missed! During the Great Depression, AM radio was the cheapest way to acquire entertainment.

      • LOL! The Great Depression?! What rock are you under? We’ve had record inflation for 2 years and not one person is asking for more AM Radio!

    3. AM radio simply aged out. Same as newspapers and magazines. The audience doesn’t care and the clients have moved their money.

      So, when you lose audience and money, that’s not a business.

    4. You know, if the NAB (and the EAS consortium) really wanted to fix this problem, they’d campaign to expand wireless broadband cell service across the country and switch their focus to online delivery, like they should have been doing since the mid-90’s… y’know, back when they were instead trying to KILL streaming. That’s where listeners are today anyway: they’re connecting their phones to their vehicles’ entertainment systems by Bluetooth and listening to content from any number of apps. The only real reason AM is still being propped up is the EAS primaries… a system that is barely functional at best and, for the most part, nobody pays attention to. More people get digital alerts on their phones than have heard an EAS broadcast in the past decade. It’s just not justified anymore. It’s 2023, not 1993. Technology and the listeners have moved on.


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