In a rare expression of bipartisanship, Republicans and Democrats in Congress have introduced the “AM for Every Vehicle Act” – legislation that would require automakers to continue offering “Amplitude Modulation” radio in new cars.
The move comes after reports indicate car manufacturers are planning to eliminate AM radio from dashboards, citing their interference with electric engines. Tesla, Porsche, Audi and even Ford have confirmed their desire to relegate the AM radio to the ash heap of history.
Over 100 members representing both parties in the House of Representatives have reached out to automakers urging them to reconsider their decision. Focus on the Family and the Daily Citizen share this concern.
Lawmakers introducing the save AM radio legislation are not merely nostalgic. Instead, they’re concerned that eliminating AM radio from cars would hamper the ability to transmit information in the event of an emergency. If cell towers go down, AM radios will still work.
Focus on the Family has relied on AM radio to distribute its programming for nearly a half-century. Of course we relay our programming through both FM and online platforms also, but listeners have come to rely on the AM band for generations.
Radio is a medium that continues to pack a punch two decades into the 21st century. It would have been impossible for Nikola Tesla and Guglielmo Marconi – radio’s early pioneers – to have fully foreseen just how their invention would change the world, but change it did.
Known originally as “wireless telegraphy,” the technology also owes its rise to a host of other characters, including Heinrich Hertz, who was first to confirm the presence of invisible radio waves in the air and Reginald Fessenden, a Canadian born inventor who is credited with distributing the first radio broadcast on Christmas Eve in 1906. The engineer played “O Holy Night” on his violin and read from the Gospel of Luke.
Forevermore, AM radio and the Christian faith have been inextricably linked.
Back in 1931, only two out of every five homes in the United States had a radio. By 1938, that ratio had risen to four out of every five. Not only was radio affordable, it was also great fun, broadcasting everything from sporting events to dramas, mysteries and comedies. Today, AM radio enjoys over 45 million listeners each month – the lionshare while in automobiles.
It’s true that radio has come a long way since that cold night at Ocean Bluff-Brant Rock, Massachusetts. It will continue to evolve and change – but for now, there is no good reason to rush ahead and erase it from car dashboards.
Photo from Shutterstock.