Several auto manufacturers have moved to eliminate AM radios from future models, especially electronic vehicles (EVs). Automobile companies cite issues with interference on the AM band created by the vehicle’s electric motor.
New EVs manufactured by BMW, Porsche, Audi, Volvo, Ford F-150 Lightning truck, Volkswagen SUV, and Tesla Model S have dropped AM radio. Ford announced plans to phase out AM radio in its new models, including some with gas engines. Ford will still offer the AM band in the Mustang Mach-E. Hyundai announced they would not phase out AM radios in their models. Hyundai has both gas-powered and EVs in its lineup.
Concern about this decision is bipartisan but for different reasons. Democrat Senator Ed Markey from Massachusetts, a member of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, has been a vocal proponent of keeping AM radio in car dashboards for, among other reasons: national security and public safety. According to Forbes.com, Markey said, “Despite innovations such as the smartphone and social media, AM/FM broadcast radio remains the most dependable, cost-free, and accessible communication mechanism for public officials to communicate with the public during times of emergency. As a result, any phaseout of broadcast AM radio could pose a significant communication problem during emergencies.”
The Right share the Left’s concern for the safety of commuters and urban or rural people who rely on AM radio for emergency broadcast information. Imagine all of the people in the last few months that have been victims of tornadoes and incredible rain events without the ability to get emergency info on their portable or crank radios. But the Right has another concern with a much darker motive than weight or cost to manufacturers. There is a belief on the Right that this effort to take another freedom away from people is to censor Conservative Radio. The Left cannot compete with Conservative Talk Radio, which is predominantly on the AM band. If you cannot compete, work with car makers to cancel AM.
Broadcast radio may seem like the wave of the past. However, radio remains a strong force in American media, with over 90 percent of Americans ages 12 or older still tuning in each week. Yet a startling percentage of the political and talk radio broadcast daily is conservative—91 percent.
100: Percentage of news/talk radio in Dallas, Houston, and Philadelphia that is conservative.
69: Percent of news/talk radio in L.A. and San Francisco is conservative.
Conservative talk radio did not experience significant growth until 1987, when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to abolish the Fairness Doctrine. The Fairness Doctrine had previously required radio stations to present contrasting views. After the FCCs decision to stop using the rule, radio stations could choose to be either conservative or liberal.
The inconsistency of companies’ intentions with AM exposes the lack of need to eliminate the AM radio in vehicles. It also gives credence to the Auto companies working with the Left or responding to pressure from the Left to cancel the AM band. It is fair to say that Conservatives own the AM band, and we must do whatever we can to hold onto this media niche.