C&T Subcommittee Chair Latta Opening Statement on Keeping AM Radio in New Automobiles
Washington, D.C. — Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chair Bob Latta (R-OH) delivered opening remarks at today’s Communications and Technology Subcommittee hearing titled “Listen Here: Why Americans Value AM Radio.”
Excerpts and highlights below:
THE INTEGRAL ROLE OF AM RADIO
“AM radio has been an integral part of our society for well over a century, connecting Americans to local news and serving as the backbone to our nation’s emergency communications infrastructure.
“More than 45 million Americans tune into AM radio each month. They rely on it for local news, weather, sports, and emergency alerts.
“Its unique frequency characteristics allow signals to travel far and wide, overcoming geographical barriers and reaching both urban and remote areas.
“This makes AM radio an invaluable tool during times of crisis.
“When hurricanes, tornadoes, or other natural disasters strike, AM radio remains steadfast, providing vital information to those in affected areas when other communication channels fail.
“In fact, a few years ago, I was traveling through my district when it came on the radio that there was a tornado on the ground.
“I switched to my local AM radio station playing in real time weather alerts that allowed me to know the exact path of the tornado.
“With that information, I was able to safely drive home, avoiding the storms’ path.
“In times of emergency, information is power, and AM radio remains a primary source for emergency reports.”
AM RADIO IS KEY TO LOCAL NEWS AND THE COMMUNITY
“Local broadcasters have long served as the trusted voice delivering real-time updates, weather alerts, evacuation instructions, and other critical information that can mean the difference between life and death.
“Beyond emergency situations, AM radio plays a key role in local news and community engagement.
“From news and cultural progams, to sports coverage and talk shows, AM radio keeps us connected to our community. These stations provide a platform for discussion, education, and entertainment.
“Importantly, AM radio reaches a wide demographic, ranging from seniors to rural and underserved communities.
“It serves as a source of information that is accessible to all, regardless of socio-economic status or access to the Internet.”
SOME AUTO MANUFACTURERS TAKING AWAY AM RADIO
“Today’s hearing is a result of announcements by many car manufacturers that they intend to remove AM radio in certain vehicles due to the interference between the AM radio receivers and batteries in electric vehicles.
“As some manufacturers shared in response to a letter I led last month with my colleague, the gentleman from Indiana’s sixth District, the electromagnetic waves emitted by an electric vehicle’s battery interfere with the incoming AM radio waves, causing the sound to buzz and fade.
“To solve this interference, some auto manufacturers are installing shields and filters to protect the receiver against this interference.
“In other cases, it appears that cars are equipping their new models with AM radio capability, but have it disabled.
“However, some automakers are considering or are actively removing AM radio receivers from new vehicles altogether, regardless of engine type.
“I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today about the public safety dangers of removing AM radio and possible solutions to combatting signal interference.
“Removing AM radio receivers from vehicles means individuals may miss out on critical—life saving—updates.
“We must ensure that no community is left behind, no voice is silenced, and no emergency response is compromised.”