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Georgia Broadcasters Mobilize to Save AM

AM stations hope to influence transportation officials

Radio broadcasters are keeping both hands on the wheel and a foot on the gas as they pressure key decision makers to keep AM radio in car dashboards. 

A recent newsletter from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters outlines its efforts to rally support in the state and in Washington, D.C. GAB President Bob Houghton writes in the newsletter to constituents that he believes progress is being made.

“With the guidance from the NAB, the GAB and many of our board members, we have successfully reached out to all of our members of Congress and our two U.S. senators. I have heard that several members of our delegation have responded positively to the issue,” Houghton writes.

The state broadcast association says it is also speaking with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) asking them to partner with FEMA to support AM radio. In addition, it is pushing the Georgia Department of Transportation to reach out to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

The group notes in the newsletter that GDOT and nearly every other state uses their highway message boards instructing drivers to tune to specific AM channels for traffic information. “Over the years Transportation has mandated seat belts, air bags and countless other safety features,” the group says. “We will be asking Transportation, with the strong support from Congress, FCC, FEMA and Homeland Security, to move AM radio in cars from optional to mandatory.”

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

Houghton also identified three members of the Georgia congressional delegation who are serving on key committees in Washington: Sen. Jon Ossoff, Homeland Security; Rep. Buddy Carter, Energy and Commerce; and Rep. David Scott, Agriculture.

GAB believes there is room for movement by automakers when it comes to keeping AM radio in new cars: “We have reason to believe that removing the AM radio from cars and trucks is not a high priority to OEMs. They would be willing to compromise if any of our supporters can offer some concessions on issues that are more important to the OEM’s.”

In addition, GAB believes Xperi’s DTS AutoStage offers a “dramatic improvement of AM radio in cars.”

Houghton continued: “The momentum on this issue is strong. Radio has rarely been this united on any issue like we are on this one.”

GAB is encouraging its members to air the public service messages produced by the National Association of Broadcasters – the “Depend on AM” campaign – touting the importance of AM radio or to produce their own messages doing so.