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CTA Calls the Mandatory AM Bill “Nonsensical”

The association expressed opposition in a letter co-signed by the auto industry's alliance

Don’t expect consumer electronics manufacturers to support the federal legislation that would require AM radio in cars. Quite the opposite.

“Today’s drivers don’t drive Model T’s, and today’s listeners do not listen to gramophones,” the Consumer Technology Association wrote in a blog post late last week.

“As new products come to market, it’s crucial for the federal government to prioritize policies that promote innovation, consumer preferences and freedom of choice.”

CTA says that given the evolving technology landscape, “Mandating AM radio in new cars would be like mandating CD or 8-track cassette players.”

The association said the law would put burdens on carmakers that could stifle innovation.

“While AM radio holds a nostalgic place in the hearts of many and continues to offer important news, weather and entertainment, mandating its installation in all new cars would be a nonsensical and counterproductive move by the federal government.”

It said the view that AM is necessary for emergency broadcasts doesn’t hold water. “FM radio, internet streaming services, better rural broadband and text alerts should be able to make up for any loss of AM radio access.”

The free market, CTA thinks, will assure that carmakers include features that consumers actually want. “This isn’t about ending AM radio — it’s about consumer choice — and the vast majority of autos will continue to have AM radio access for the foreseeable future.”

CTA President/CEO Gary Shapiro co-signed a letter to the backers of the legislation, expressing their opposition. The other signatories are the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, the Zero Emission Transportation Association and TechNet. [Read their letter.]

[Related: “Ford Will Keep AM Radio in 2024 Models”]