Counter-Terrorism Expert: ‘Only AM’ Is Reliable If The Worst Comes


A Washington-State-based emergency management and counter-terror specialist is the latest to loudly support the passage of the AM for Every Vehicle Act. Jeff Burns wrote an opinion piece for the Seattle Times emphasizing AM radio’s role in safeguarding the public.

Burns has more than 25 years of experience in high-threat protective services across government and private sectors, including a decade in undercover law enforcement. He is a board-Certified Dignitary and Executive Protection expert, a Certified Master Anti-Terrorism Specialist, and is US Department of State Worldwide Protective Services 2 qualified. He is also the founder of Burns Group International.

In his article, Burns discussed how the necessity of AM radio is particularly acute in Washington, a state prone to natural disasters like flooding and wildfires. The importance of AM was personally underscored by the specialist’s own experience during a wildfire.

He writes, “In 2019, I survived a massive arson-caused wildfire while trapped at my ranch on top of a mountain. After the fire downed the power, AM radio was the only way I could obtain information on the fire, how to evacuate safely, and where to obtain emergency housing.”

Recognizing AM radio’s unique capacity to reach broad audiences even under severe conditions, Burns continued, “One of the most significant advantages of AM radio as an emergency management tool (compared to cellphones, satellite radio and the internet) is the wall-to-wall coverage that it provides. When the weather or demand spikes don’t take down their signals, the other three services can provide Washingtonians with quick news updates. However, only AM radio gives the detailed, nonstop coverage of emergency management operators’ emergency response operations when the worst happens.”

Burns closed by praising lawmakers working to pass the AM Act, saying, “I speak for all my homeland security and emergency management colleagues when I say their leadership is appreciated more than they will ever know.”

AM radio support has surged in the US Senate, achieving a supermajority with the addition of twelve senators co-sponsoring S.1669, a bill introduced by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in May. This increase, spurred by state broadcast associations, raises the total to sixty senators, enough to override a filibuster.

The House counterpart, led by Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, now boasts 250 sponsors, including four non-voting members, following a recent House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing on AM radio preservation.


  1. With all due respect to Mr. Burns’ 25 years of service, which I thank him for, my 50 years of broadcast engineering expereince knows that AM radio does not have the reliability for severe weather situations. In 1985 tornadoes ripped through our area causing massive destruction and deaths. At that time all EAS was on AM radio. The 5000 watt station that was the LP1 was obliterated by all the lightning from those storms. That evening I was in a camper trailer at a local campsite. I had no clue tornadoes went north and south of us. The lack of EAS relays caused the local EMA and the LP1/LP2 stations to set up a 2-way radio link and move the LP1/LP2 over to their FM stations. Also in 1985 there was no widespread cell phone use and no EV’s or LED’s raising the noise floor in the AM band.

  2. Indeed Walter. Radios in cars will not save AM as a viable commercial entity. Make a good show. And make it local!


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