What a weird time to be alive!
It wasn’t that long ago that AM radio was king, one of the primary ways Americans entertained themselves while driving out on the open road. However, in the day of satellite radio, streaming services, etc. AM radio’s clout has diminished greatly. Some automakers have even dropped it altogether from their new cars, a trend a bipartisan group in Congress hopes to reverse.
Test your driving knowledge here.
On May 17, the “AM for Every Vehicle Act” was presented in the Senate by Senator Ed Markey (D-MA). It would require the Secretary of Transportation to force automakers to continue outfitting their cars with the ability to capture AM broadcast radio stations.
It might sound odd to force automakers to continue offering something so low-tech in vehicles, but there’s good reason for it. In an emergency such as a severe storm, earthquake, etc. AM radio is how the government pushes out information that could be vital to the citizenry’s survival. Anyone who’s into prepping knows this and has an AM radio that can be cranked instead of relying on only batteries.
What’s more, the bill would prevent automakers from charging people anything additional for putting AM radio in cars. Not everyone likes this idea since AM radio waves don’t jive well with electric motors, leading to static and squelch in transmissions. This means if you have a hybrid or EV, your AM radio might not work so well.
For those who live in cities and always have access to 5G connections, this bill likely sounds absolutely silly. However, anyone who’s spent time out in the further reaches of civilization or beyond knows that often AM radio is about the only signal available. And in a genuine emergency, internet connections could become spotty at best.
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