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House committee to hold hearing on AM radio bill

The front façade of the U.S. Capitol appears in a 2010 photograph. (Photo by Nicolas Raymond via Wikimedia Commons)
The front façade of the U.S. Capitol appears in a 2010 photograph. (Photo by Nicolas Raymond via Wikimedia Commons)

A subgroup of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on a proposed legislation that would mandate the reception of AM radio broadcasts in all new vehicles sold in the United States.

The hearing will be led by the Communications and Technology Subcommittee and will take place June 6 at the Rayburn Office Building in Washington. Participants in the hearing will include Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington; Franke Pallone of New Jersey; Bob Latta of Ohio and Doris Matsui of California.

The title of the hearing — “Listen Here: Why Americans Value AM Radio” — already suggests the event is likely to take a lopsided view of the proposed “AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act,” which would require carmakers to make AM radio broadcasts freely accessible in all new vehicles sold in the United States.

Related: Carmakers, audio execs say AM radio proposal is flawed

The proposal was introduced after pro-radio advocates and public interest groups cried foul over plans by some electric vehicle makers to remove AM radio tuners from their cars, citing electromagnetic interference. Advocates for traditional broadcast radio say the move could create public safety issues, but have offered no evidence to that assertion.

Opponents of the mandate say the public already has alternative means to obtain emergency alerts, including wireless phones, and that AM radio broadcasts are still available in electric vehicles through streaming platforms that are built into many infotainment systems on the market.

The House hearing will be live-streamed on the Energy Committee’s website.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).