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Winston Asks Black Lawmakers to Help in AM Fight

NABOB head says removal of AM in EVs will compound current inequities

The loss of AM radio in cars could have “catastrophic” consequences for Black-owned radio companies and their audiences, according to the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters.

NABOB released a letter sent this month by President/CEO Jim Winston and Rep. Steve Horsford, who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus, asking for help from Black lawmakers.

NABOB President/CEO Jim Winston

Winston said there are 103 AM stations owned by Black broadcasters. He said the removal of AM from some cars is a huge setback for them.

“AM radio is a crucial medium for delivering content that is culturally relevant and often missing from other formats. …The removal of AM radio from electric vehicles would be a step backward in broadcasters’ efforts to promote diversity and inclusivity in media. It would reinforce the dominance of mainstream media outlets and limit the diversity of voices and perspectives that are heard.”

He said that for many Black-owned broadcasters, “the removal of AM radio in electrical vehicles will have a compounding effect, magnifying the inequities of broadcast ownership.”

Winston said that for people in rural areas, “with unreliable wireless and/or broadband connections,” AM radio is widely available, always on and accessible without subscription fees or data caps. 

He asked the caucus to press car manufacturers to keep AM in electric and other vehicles.

NABOB represents 257 Black-owned broadcast outlets and networks. It says its members own fewer than 2% of the 11,000 commercial AM and FM radio stations in the country.

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