“Automakers should care about giving customers what they want.” So says Curtis LeGeyt, president/CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters.
He wrote a new blog post calling attention to the current debate over whether carmakers can or will keep AM in electric and other vehicles.
[Related: “Car Companies Vary Wildly in Their Comments About AM”]
LeGeyt quotes research that found that nine out of 10 current and future car buyers believe broadcast radio should be standard in every vehicle, and eight out of 10 are less likely to buy or lease cars without radio capability.
“More than 47 million Americans tune into nearly 4,500 local AM radio stations across the country,” he writes. “AM radio stations rank among the most-listened-to stations not just in small and rural markets but also in major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and Atlanta.”
LeGeyt reiterates arguments that radio proponents have used regarding emergency alerting, content and the free nature of the medium.
“Despite [its] widespread reach, some automakers, including Ford, Tesla, BMW and Audi, have opted to strip AM radio out of their vehicles. AM listeners, radio stations, policymakers and emergency managers are rightly sounding the alarm bells,” LeGeyt writes
He said NAB and radio leaders have been meeting with the auto industry, and that automakers can prevent interference on the AM dial in electric vehicles with steps that include a simple software upgrade that reduces noise and interference. “There are also nascent technologies that deliver clearer, more reliable signals free of interference while also enabling broadcasters to offer additional content channels for listeners.”