New Bill Seeks To Block Cars From Excluding AM Radio, Conservative-Talk In Cars

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Car manufacturers are tuning out AM radio from their latest models. Manufacturers allege “interference” between electromagnetic frequencies from their motors and AM frequencies when discussing the exclusion from EV models.

The car brands include Ford, Volkswagen, BMW, Mazda, Volvo, and Tesla.

The exclusion has a direct effect on conservative talk radio. AM radio has long hosted the top conservative voices and remains an influential megaphone to this day.

While the leading radio shows in the country — Dave Ramsey, Clay & Buck, and Sean Hannity — have multi-media presences, they each reach millions of listeners on the AM dial.

Dave Ramsey on AM radio.

Radio is the only form of media on which conservatives have a stranglehold. Liberal media controls newspapers, Big Tech, and broadcast news networks. Conservatives have radio. Particularly, AM radio.

Radio doesn’t garner the virality of cable news or podcasting. But as OutKick explained earlier this year, that’s because Twitter users and media writers don’t consume the medium.

However, their listening habits do not represent consumers at large. Not in the slightest.

In fact, more than 80 million Americans listen to AM radio every month.

AM stations also serve a critical role in the Emergency Alert System during hurricanes, tornadoes, or other severe weather events. AM signals cover a larger geographical area than FM radio signals or cell towers.

For those reasons, Senators Ted Cruz and Ed Markey penned an op-ed for Fox News discussing the introduction to AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act of 2023, a bipartisan legislation that would direct federal regulators to require automakers to keep AM availability in new vehicles at no additional cost.  

“There are a lot of places in the country where AM radio stations are some of the only choices people have to hear what’s going on in terms of agricultural matters, music, talk or news,” said the piece

If passed, the bill would prohibit manufacturers from removing the AM radio option from their vehicles.

“We represent two very different sides of the political spectrum. If the two of us — a progressive and a conservative — can find common ground on this issue, it should highlight just how important we believe it is for Americans to have access to AM radio in cars, and just how important AM radio is to millions of Americans from different walks of life,” reads the op-ed.

Ten other senators from both the left and right sides of the aisle have joined the bill as cosponsors. Cruz says that the House version has bipartisan support.

Already, Ford Motor Company reversed course upon the introduction of the bill. This week, CEO Jim Farley announced the manufacturer would include AM availability in its model year 2024 vehicles.

In addition, Ford says it will offer a software update to customers who bought an electric vehicle without AM stations.

Ford was also the target of Mark Levin, a leading AM radio voice, in April.

“Let’s talk about radios for a minute. Ford is the latest manufacturer that says, the future production of cars will not include the AM platform… BMW has said it,” began Levin. “

“Others have said it because it interferes with something or other. They finally figured out how to attack conservative talk radio.”

He’s right. And for those reasons, we are pessimistic that the support for the bill will remain bipartisan. 

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack is a writer for OutKick where he reports and analyzes the latest topics in media, culture, sports, and politics..

Burack has become a prominent voice in media and has been featured on several shows across OutKick and industry related podcasts and radio stations.

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