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Radio Fires Back at Auto Manufacturers’ AM Cost Claims

The auto industry continues its attempt to block the AM Radio For Every Vehicle Act (H.R. 3413 and S. 1669). In a recent blog post, a trade group representing the auto industry claimed that by 2030, it would cost $3.8 billion to continue including AM radios in vehicles. Most of the costs involve shielding and including filters to avoid interference from electric engines.

Of course, filters and shielding are necessary to prevent interference with other systems in the vehicle. It is wrong to attribute these costs solely to including an AM radio. 12 out of 20 auto manufacturers have already figured this out. Often overlooked are the costs to consumers from the auto industry’s communications plans. While keeping AM radio in a vehicle may present a slight one-time cost to consumers, eliminating free radio will force all consumers to purchase subscription services to access local radio stations that they currently receive for free.

This auto industry figure vastly inflates the costs. The Congressional Budget Office stated that implementing the AM bill would only slightly increase the overall costs. 

CBO expects this would primarily affect manufacturers of electric vehicles (EVs) who have removed or announced plans to remove standard AM radio equipment from their vehicles, though the bill would prohibit future phase-outs in gasoline and diesel passenger vehicles as well. Based on sales data, this would require manufacturers to update media equipment and infotainment software in about 2.5 to 3 million EVs per year. 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 and would not exceed the annual threshold established in UMRA for private-sector mandates ($198 million in 2023, adjusted annually for inflation).

We continue to push the AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act in both the House and the Senate. As it stands, 181 members of The House and 39 U.S. Senators have signed on to the legislation. This includes Mike Johnson, the new Speaker of the House of Representatives. In New York, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Gillibrand support the bill. On the house side, 14 members of the New York delegation have co-sponsored the legislation.

Jacobs Media has released an interesting analysis here.

You can see the cost analysis by the Congressional Budget Office here

You can see the NAB’s well-written response to the auto industry here.



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