U.S. Government Affairs

  • 1.  AM Radio in Every Vehicle Act

    Posted 05-26-2023 09:51

    Earlier this week, I met with the National Association of Broadcasters about recently introduced legislation that would require AM Radio in every manufactured vehicle.  The legislation was introduced in the wake of reports that Ford was planning to discontinue broadcast AM radio receivers from current and future vehicles.  Since the National Public Warning System hinges on the use of AM radio, I recommend that IAEM endorse "AM Radio in Every Vehicle Act", which was introduced in the Senate last week by Senators Markey and Cruz (S. 1669). Reps. Gottheimer and Kean introduced an identical companion bill in the House (HR 3413). The House bill has already attracted 28 cosponsors.

    Please find attached several relevant documents regarding the issue including…

    • Feb. 26th letter of 7 former FEMA Administrators to Secretary Buttigieg warning of the public safety implications of removing AM from vehicles;
    • May 15 letter signed by 102 Members of Congress to each of the automakers that had not committed to retaining AM in their vehicles (identical letters w/ questions were sent to the CEOs of Ford, Tesla, Polestar, Mazda, Rivian, Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, GM and Volvo). Also included a list of signers by state;
    • May 23rd announcement of a hearing on this issue in early June by the House Energy & Commerce Committee's bipartisan leadership;
    • National Association of Broadcasters talking points (helpful stats)
    • March 10th release by Senator Markey with links to letters to and responses of OEMS (that attachment includes links to all the letters and responses). 

    On May 23, Ford announced – via tweet of its CEO Jim Farley – that after hearing from policymakers it has decided to include AM in its 2024 models. While a very good step in the right direction, those same policymakers doubled-down on the need to pass the AM Radio in Every Vehicle Act (see attached Rep. Pallone tweet).

    Thoughts?



    ------------------------------
    Thad Huguley
    Government Affairs Director
    IAEM
    Falls Church VA
    (615) 870-9316
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: AM Radio in Every Vehicle Act

    Posted 05-26-2023 11:46

    Reposting from my email from yesterday:

    I think there's minimal risk in supporting this legislation, however I don't think it does much to sustain or enhance emergency managers ability to warn the public. I'd love to see us bolster our support letter with recommendations to enhance rather than the status quo.
    The days of CONELRAD are long gone where there was a consistent set of channels 640 and 1240 that were frequently marked on radios (and an associated marketing campaign). Many of the FEMA National Public Warning System (NPWS), (formerly Primary Entry Point (PEP)) stations are AM but a growing percentage of the American public would have no idea what local channel to tune to during an emergency, likely scanning around until they heard something useful. Requiring automakers integrate the radio's functionality with the vehicle's GPS receiver (a common feature in modern vehicles, and most of the future-looking vehicles considered in this proposal) and an "emergency preset" button in the infotainment system to automatically tune you to a designated and clearest AM and/or FM channel for your location would be interesting feature. The "Radio Data System" technology is in the neighborhood as it has an emergency code feature but would need further investigation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_Data_System
    Requiring automakers to enhance FM tuners to receive the 7 NOAA Weather Radio channels and the addition of Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) functionality would be useful. The FM radio contained in nearly every vehicle already receives signals about 50MHz below the NOAA Weather Radio frequencies.
    With some of the features coming out in modern vehicles, these seem like peanuts.
    And as I think we can all agree, the best chance for alert and warning capabilities on devices people frequently use (mobile phones) via Wireless Emergency Alerts continues to be hamstrung by system limitations and countless human factors issues. Would be great if we could get Congress to pay as much attention to those topics as they have for this one...

    Potential language to include in a support letter could be as broad as: "IAEM also recommends that the legislation direct auto manufacturers and auto infotainment system manufacturers to design natural and intuitive integrations of AM radio and other alert & warning system technologies into their vehicles. With the advent of intelligent vehicle operating systems, consumers should be able to turn on proactive and "location-aware" emergency alerts and quickly tune to reliable emergency information without memorizing specific stations. AM radio is a critical part into the larger ecosystem of alert & warning technologies including FM radio, NOAA Weather radio, and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA). We imagine a future where the driver can simply ask the vehicle "Tune me to emergency radio" and it intelligently tunes to the clearest designated station." 

    Just throwing some language around, would need to be cleaned up and I would like to see what others think.



  • 3.  RE: AM Radio in Every Vehicle Act

    Posted 05-30-2023 13:51

    The House Energy and Commerce Committee has announced an upcoming subcommittee hearing on this issue.  The hearing will be on June 6 at 10:00 ET and will be live-streamed on the Committee's website.

    Here is the link.



    ------------------------------
    Thad Huguley
    Government Affairs Director
    IAEM
    Falls Church VA
    (615) 870-9316
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: AM Radio in Every Vehicle Act

    Posted 06-05-2023 13:38
      |   view attached

    IAEM joined other EM-related stakeholders in signing a letter of support for the AM Radio in Every Vehicle Act (see attachment). The letter will be submitted for the record during tomorrow's House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing.  The hearing will be live streamed on the E&C Committee website at 10:00 ET on Tuesday, June 6.

    Click here to watch the hearing.



    ------------------------------
    Thad Huguley
    Government Affairs Director
    IAEM
    Falls Church VA
    (615) 870-9316
    ------------------------------

    Attachment(s)



  • 5.  RE: AM Radio in Every Vehicle Act

    Posted 06-07-2023 10:08

    The House Energy and Commerce Committee convened yesterday to discuss the "AM Radio in Every Vehicle Act."  You can watch the hearing here...

    https://youtu.be/lIVsLIo-wko

    And here is a summary of the hearing as depicted by Liliana Ranon, VP for Government Relations, National Association of Broadcasters...

    --------------

    Good afternoon, everyone - 

    Thank you all again for your support, partnership and fantastic public safety coalition letter!

    Sharing a few press hits on your letter in case you don't already have them.

    Also, I am sharing a recap of today's successful hearing in the House Energy and Commerce Committee. This represents an important step forward in our advocacy for legislation to ensure that AM radio is available in every vehicle in this country.

    Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle repeatedly emphasized the critical significance of AM radio in their communities, focusing on the potentially disastrous public safety implications of removing AM radio from automobiles.  House Energy and Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA), Ranking Member Frank Pallone (NJ), Telecom Subcommittee Chair Bob Latta (OH), and Telecom Subcommittee Ranking Member Doris Matsui (CA) were united in their opening statements and questions, all highlighting the important role that AM radio has played in their districts during emergencies, and expressing serious concerns about the decisions that some automakers have made to remove AM from their vehicles.

    Jerry "J" Chapman, President of Woof Boom radio, did a tremendous job testifying on behalf of broadcasters and NAB, answering questions from lawmakers for over two-and-a-half hours.  We are grateful for his willingness to come to Washington – he was calm, composed, and effective in responding to the many different questions posed by Members of the Committee, and the Members were visibly pleased by his responses.  He was, in effect, a perfect witness for the industry.  J's testimony was further bolstered by Lt. Colonel Christopher DeMaise, the Homeland Security Branch Commander for the New Jersey State Police, who testified to the irreplaceable role that AM radio plays in the nation's Emergency Alert System (EAS) during times of disaster .

    This was in stark contrast to the testimony and responses provided by the auto industry's witness, Scott Schmidt of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, who was both unable and unwilling to answer even the most basic questions Members raised regarding the technical and business rationales for automakers' puzzling decisions to eliminate AM from some vehicles.  Particularly notable was the vocal frustration and anger directed toward the auto witness by broadcaster champion Rep. Debbie Dingell (MI), who represents some of the country's largest auto manufacturers.

    While Republicans and Democrats were almost unanimously united in their defense of AM, it should be noted that handful of Republicans and Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo (CA) expressed concerns about a legislative solution that includes a "mandate" on automakers to provide AM in cars.  Despite having such a mandate, the AM Radio for Everyone Act, which would require the Secretary of Transportation to issue a rule requiring automakers to include AM in every vehicle, has significant bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.

    We will continue to keep you apprised of developments.  If you would like to watch the entire hearing, it can be accessed here: https://youtu.be/lIVsLIo-wko



    ------------------------------
    Thad Huguley
    Government Affairs Director
    IAEM
    Falls Church VA
    (615) 870-9316
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: AM Radio in Every Vehicle Act

    Posted 07-31-2023 11:03

    On Thursday, the Senate passed the AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act.  The bill:

    • Directs the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to issue a rule that requires automakers to maintain AM broadcast radio in their vehicles without a separate or additional payment, fee, or surcharge beyond the base price of the device;
    • Requires any automaker that sells vehicles without access to AM broadcast radio before the effective date of the NHTSA regulation to clearly disclose to consumers that the vehicle lacks access to AM broadcast radio; and
    • Directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the reach and effectiveness of AM broadcast radio for alerting the public to emergencies relative to other technologies.


    ------------------------------
    Thad Huguley
    Government Affairs Director
    IAEM
    Falls Church VA
    (615) 870-9316
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: AM Radio in Every Vehicle Act

    Posted 10-12-2023 12:55

    Flagging today's Inside Radio article that scores the cost to the government of implementing the "AM for Every Vehicle Act" at $1 million between 2024-2028. 

     

    -------------------------------------------------

     

    Inside Radio

     

    Federal Number Crunchers Conclude There's Small Price To Keep AM Radio In Vehicles

     

    October 12, 2023

     

    In a federal budget that tops $6 trillion, a potential life-saving bill for AM radio would hardly make a ripple in the vast sea of spending. The Congressional Budget Office has examined the proposed AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act (S. 1669) that would require automakers to keep AM in their dashboards, concluding it will cost a total of $1 million between 2024 and 2028 for it to be implemented.

     

    If passed, the bill would direct the Department of Transportation to issue a rule requiring that AM broadcast stations be accessible in all passenger motor vehicles manufactured in, imported into, or shipped within the U.S. The Government Accountability Office would also be required to study whether alternative communication systems could fully replicate the reach and effectiveness of AM radio for alerting the public during emergencies.

     

    The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says that the $1 million needed to cover those costs would easily come out of the budgets that Congress is already providing to DOT and GAO. It also points out that the DOT would be allowed to assess civil penalties on manufacturers that fail to comply with the new rule to offset some of those costs. "CBO estimates that any additional revenues collected would total less than $500,000 over the 2024-2033 period because the number of violations would probably be small," says its report to lawmakers.

     

    The congressional analysis agrees with auto industry analysis that the potential AM requirement would primarily affect manufacturers of electric vehicles who have removed, or announced plans to remove, standard AM radio equipment citing purported interference issues. CBO says based on current sales trends, it expects the proposed dashboard requirement would require manufacturers to update media equipment and infotainment software in about 2.5 to 3 million EVs per year. But it shoots down any complaints about a high-priced government mandate that carmakers may float. "Because the unit costs of those updates are small, CBO estimates the total cost of the mandate would be several millions of dollars each year the requirement is in effect," it says. CBO does not give a specific estimate for that costs but says it would be below the $198 million cap put on bills for issuing private-sector mandates.

     

    The so-called scoring of the bill could help clear the way for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to bring the AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act to the floor for a vote. The bill was passed out of committee in July, and its list of supporters has grown to 34 senators with the issue cutting across political lines.

     

    The House version of the bill (H.R.3413) also remains pending, with bipartisan support also growing with a total of 165 supporters. That includes the additions so far this month of Reps. Mike Ezell (R-MS), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), Chris Pappas (D-NH), and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).

     

    No votes have been taken in the House, but during a hearing on the bill in June, there was strong support for keeping AM radio in vehicles, although a few lawmakers expressed some concerns about putting a mandate on carmakers.

     

    The challenge for the radio industry remains the same as it has been for the past few months – getting the attention of Congress. Not only has the House been shaken by its battle over who should be speaker, but there is also expected to be debates on aid packages to Israel and Ukraine while the temporary measure keeping the federal government open expires on Nov. 17.

     

    Even without any AM-radio focused bill becoming law, the attention Congress has put on radio during the past several months is already making a difference. Faced with pressure from Washington and an uproar from the radio industry over plans to remove AM radio from its cars and trucks, Ford Motor Co. reversed course in May and said that it would keep AM radio in its new vehicles.

     

    Other brands, including General Motors, BMW, Mazda, Rivian, Volkswagen, and Volvo have also shown some commitment to AM. But other brands are sticking with plans to focus on FM and streaming and digital capabilities in their dashboards, especially electric vehicle models.

     

    Source: https://www.insideradio.com/free/federal-number-crunchers-conclude-there-s-small-price-to-keep-am-radio-in-vehicles/article_6a2c7d6a-68c9-11ee-82d9-c7b284be4d65.html

     



    ------------------------------
    Thad Huguley
    Government Affairs Director
    IAEM
    Falls Church VA
    (615) 870-9316
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: AM Radio in Every Vehicle Act

    Posted 10-13-2023 07:41

    We always talk about the importance of redundancy in our communications and this is another tool in that toolbox.



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    Christa Lopez
    Senior Advisor
    CTEH
    Wilmington NC
    4092707680
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  • 9.  RE: AM Radio in Every Vehicle Act

    Posted 2 days ago

    I have good news to share regarding the AM in Every Vehicle Act.  The House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce is scheduled to markup the new AM radio legislation (H.R. 8449), which mirrors the Senate AM radio legislation that was passed out of the Senate Commerce Committee last summer (S.1669)

    There are a couple of changes from the original iteration of the bill (H.R. 3413) that are worth noting:

    1. For automotive companies that manufacture less than 40,000 cars a year in the U.S. since 2022, they have 4 years to comply with the rule once the Secretary issues the rule.
    2. Every 5 years after the rule has been issued, the Secretary in coordination with the FCC shall submit a report to the appropriate committees of Congress assessing the impact of the rule, including on public safety.

    The markup is scheduled for May 23 at 10:00 ET.  You can stream it here.

    Here is a link to the National Association of Broadcasters statement in support of this markup.  NAB has been leading the coalition of stakeholders in support of the legislation.

    Here is a link to IAEM's endorsement of the AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act from June 2023.



    ------------------------------
    Thad Huguley
    Government Affairs Director
    IAEM
    Falls Church VA
    (615) 870-9316
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: AM Radio in Every Vehicle Act

    Posted 2 days ago

    Fantastic news Thad, thank you for sharing.



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    Christa Lopez
    Senior Advisor
    CTEH
    Wilmington NC
    (409) 270-7680
    ------------------------------