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The rise of electric vehicles could be a threat to the future of AM radio. This is because electric motors and other components in EVs can generate electromagnetic interference (EMI) that can disrupt AM radio signals. This interference can cause static, buzzing, or other noise, making it difficult or impossible to listen to AM radio in an EV.

As a result, some EV manufacturers have begun to omit AM radios from their vehicles altogether. This has raised concerns from some people, including emergency officials, who argue that AM radio is a critical source of information during emergencies. AM radio signals can travel long distances and are not as susceptible to power outages as other forms of communication, such as cellular networks.

In response to these concerns, some efforts are underway to save AM radio, including developing new shielding and filtering technologies to reduce EMI in EVs. Some are also proposing the development of digital AM radio, which is less susceptible to interference.

The AM for Every Vehicle Act is a bipartisan bill that would require automakers to keep AM radio in new cars without additional costs. The bill would direct the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to issue a rule that requires automakers to maintain AM broadcast radio in their vehicles.

The bill passed the Commerce Committee on July 27, 2023. A coalition of agriculture groups sent a letter to lawmakers in October 2023 voicing support for the bill.

A new report from the Center for Automotive Research says EVs generate electromagnetic interference that can distort AM signals and make them fuzzy. Fixing the problem, automakers say, could cost $3.8 billion over the next seven years.


Curtis LeGeyt is the president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters.

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 833-877-8255 or email thesource@tpr.org.

This interview will be recorded Monday, November 27, 2023.

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David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi