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AM Radio Gets House Hearing

NAB welcomes planned subcommittee hearing

House Energy & Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers. To her left is Ranking Member Frank Pallone. (Photo courtesy House Energy & Commerce Committee)

The House of Representatives Energy & Commerce Committee is hearing about AM radio on April 30. Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) announced that the Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, & Commerce will hold a legislative hearing that day titled “Draft Legislation to Preserve Americans’ Access to AM Radio.”

The hearing will focus on draft legislative language for the AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act of 2024.

“Communities across the country, especially rural communities, rely on AM radio service for critical information. It plays an essential role during public emergencies when other alert systems that rely on the electric grid and cellphone networks don’t work, which is why it’s so alarming that some auto manufacturers are considering not installing AM radios in new cars,” stated Rodgers and Pallone in the announcement. “We look forward to working together to preserve Americans’ access to this vital source of information.”

NAB President and CEO Curtis LeGeyt welcomed the announcement and thanked the lawmakers for their leadership in protecting access to AM radio.

“With 82 million monthly listeners, AM radio is the backbone of the Emergency Alert System and serves as a trusted source of factual news and diverse programming in communities across the country,” stated LeGeyt. “Local broadcasters look forward to continue working with Chairwoman McMorris Rodgers, Ranking Member Pallone and all committee members to ensure this critical communications medium remains accessible to listeners across the country.”

The draft language largely mirrors the language of the AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act of 2023 (S. 1669/H.R. 3413), which passed out of the Senate Commerce Committee last year. In December 2023, an attempt to pass the bill through unanimous consent failed in the Senate. That bill currently has 48 cosponsors in the Senate and 245 in the House of Representatives.

[Read more Radio World business and legal news here.]