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Car Companies Criticize the “Mandatory AM” Bill

Auto alliance says whether AM is installed "has no bearing" on emergency communications

Carmakers are slamming the new legislation on Capitol Hill that would mandate AM radio in new cars sold in the United States. They say it is just a bill to prop up a particular technology.

“Congress has never mandated radio features in vehicles ever before,” the Alliance for Automotive Innovation said in a statement. It called the bill unnecessary.

“Whether or not AM radio is physically installed in vehicles in the future has no bearing on the various methods of delivering emergency communications that alert the public. This is simply a bill to prop up and give preference to a particular technology that’s now competing with other communications options and adapting to changing listenership.”

Promotional image for the Alliance for Automotive Innovation featuring a concept image of a car suggesting new technology themes
A promotional image from the alliance website.

The alliance said automakers are fully committed to providing drivers access to public alerts and warnings through the Integrated Public Alerts and Warning System system.

“IPAWS was built with technological redundancies that can distribute warnings across multiple platforms: AM radio (digital and analog), FM radio (digital and analog), internet-based radio, satellite radio and over cellular networks.”

As it has done earlier, the alliance quoted the FEMA IPAWS strategic plan, which states that the public is moving away from radio and broadcast/cable TV as the primary channels for news and information.

[Read more stories about the future of AM radio in cars]