Public Safety Coalition Supports Congressional AM Radio Bill


WASHINGTON, D.C. — June 6 was shaping up to be the biggest day for AM radio in perhaps a century on Capitol Hill, with a highly anticipated House Committee on Energy & Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee Hearing on the value of kHz-band broadcasts to Americans scheduled to begin at 10:30am Eastern.

Ahead of that event, six public safety groups added their names as supporters of the bipartisan AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act, introduced in the Senate and House by politicians who rarely come together in unity over a political issue.

After former Federal Emergency Management Agency head Michael Brown spoke out in favor of AM’s necessary place in the dashboard, six major public safety groups are adding their names to the list of AM supporters.

The letter saw Big City Emergency Managers, the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, the International Association of Emergency Managers, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the National Association of Counties, and the National Emergency Management Association all call for AM’s protection as co-signers, with Reps. Hakeem Jefferies (D-N.Y.) and Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.); and Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) — the minority and majority leaders of the House and Senate, respectively — the recipients of the letter.

Now officially H.R. 3413 and S. 1669, the groups urge the key Congressional legislators to back the respective bills.

“As emergency managers working to maintain the nation’s ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from all emergencies, disasters and threats to our nations’ national security, AM radio is an essential tool to effectively disseminating local, timely and crucial information to the public,” they note. “When extreme weather events occur and broadband, electric power and cell service are out, people with AM radios can continue to receive critical, and possibly lifesaving, information. Unlike other services, AM broadcasts are unique in terms of their resiliency and reach, including to areas that may not be served fully, if at all, by cell and/or broadband service. Of particular concern to us is the fact that removing free broadcast AM radio from certain vehicles effectively dismantles the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s system for ensuring the President can reach all Americans in the event of a public safety or national security emergency.”

They concluded that they were “heartened” by the recent announcement by the Ford Motor Company that – now recognizing the important role AM radio plays in our Nation’s public safety infrastructure – it will continue to include AM in all of its 2024 model vehicles. However, while the groups say this is a step in the right direction, “it is imperative that no American be overlooked when it comes to public safety, and that all vehicles in the U.S. be required to include AM radio as a standard, free, safety feature. We stand united in expressing our support for maintaining AM radio in automobiles, and we respectfully request that you support this important legislation.”