WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) joined Senators Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and 17 of their Senate colleagues on the AM for Every Vehicle Act. This bicameral and bipartisan legislation would direct federal regulators to require automakers to maintain AM broadcast radio in their new vehicles at no additional charge.
“Free AM broadcast radio has been an important resource for decades,” said Rounds. “Whether someone is in their car or tractor, AM radio is a valuable tool to share local news and emergency information. I grew up listening to KCCR on 1240 and KGFX on 1060, especially when I delivered newspapers throughout the Pierre area. It made the time go by quick! I am pleased to join Senators Markey and Cruz on this bipartisan legislation so our future generations have access to this free, key resource, especially in our rural areas across South Dakota.”
“For decades, free AM broadcast radio has been an essential tool in emergencies, a crucial part of our diverse media ecosystem, and an irreplaceable source for news, weather, sports, and entertainment for tens of millions of listeners,” said Markey. “Carmakers shouldn’t tune out AM radio in new vehicles or put it behind a costly digital paywall. I am proud to introduce the AM for Every Vehicle Act to ensure that this resilient and popular communication tool does not become a relic of the past.”
“Each day, millions of Americans turn to AM radio to stay up to date on life in their community, engage on the issues they care about, or to be simply entertained during rush hour,” said Cruz. “AM radio is a critical bulwark for democracy, providing a platform for alternative viewpoints and the ability for elected officials to share our efforts with our constituents. Congress should act swiftly to pass this bill so Americans retain access to news, music, talk, and emergency alerts on the public airwaves. I’m glad to work with Senator Markey on this bipartisan legislation to ensure carmakers do not limit Texans’ access to radio in their vehicles.”
Specifically, the AM for Every Vehicle Act would:
- Direct the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to issue a rule that requires automakers to maintain AM broadcast radio in their vehicles without a separate or additional payment, fee or surcharge.
- Require any automaker that sells vehicles without access to AM broadcast radio before the effective date of the NHTSA regulation to clearly disclose to consumers that the vehicle lacks access to AM broadcast radio.
- Direct the Government Accountability Office to study whether alternative communication systems could fully replicate the reach and effectiveness of AM broadcast radio for alerting the public to emergencies.
This legislation was also cosponsored by Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Ted Budd (R-N.C.).
Companion legislation was introduced in the House by Representative Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.).
The AM for Every Vehicle Act is endorsed by the National Association of Broadcasters and the National Association of Farm Broadcasters.
Click HERE for full bill text.