Senate appears poised to let AM Radio Bill move forward

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The AM For Every Vehicle Act is on the verge of a crucial milestone in the U.S. Senate. The proposed legislation, which broadcasters have fiercely advocated for for the past 15 months, is about to cross the 60-cosponsorship threshold, which would give it a supermajority and allow it to overcome a filibuster.

Curtis LeGeyt, President & CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters

“We believe we are at 60, based on the conversations that we’ve had with the senators,” Curtis LeGeyt, President & CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters, told reporters in a press scrum this week at NAB Show 2024 in Las Vegas.

The 60 cosponsor number won’t be official until it is documented with the Senate clerk, which could happen within the next few weeks.

“We certainly have tremendous support in the Senate, and I think that’s going to be reflected by what you see in terms of co-sponsors,” LeGeyt said.

If passed, the bill (H.R. 3413) would require automakers to keep AM radio in their vehicle dashboards or include a warning label if they don’t.

Committee Chair Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers

It already has over a majority of House members who have said they will support it. No votes have been taken in the House yet, but the Energy and Commerce Committee will hold its second hearing on the issue on April 30 to assess where the effort stands. In a joint bipartisan statement issued Tuesday, Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) said they are working together to preserve Americans’ access to the “vital source” of information that AM radio provides.

Ranking Member Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr.

Growing support for the legislation in both chambers of Congress is helping make the case that the bill will be politically advantageous for Senate and House leadership to bring to the floor for a vote, either as a standalone piece of legislation or in connection with another bill.

“I think we are very, very well positioned here,” LeGeyt said. “But we need to make this easy for the Senate and House leadership grappling with major issues from a foreign policy perspective.”

Reflecting on the 15 months that the radio industry and NAB have focused intently on ensuring AM radio’s place in the dashboard after several automakers announced intentions to remove it from their newly manufactured automobiles, LeGeyt said he has been “floored” by the outpouring of listener support. More than 400,000 listeners across the country reached out to their members of Congress “telling stories of how they rely on AM radio, how it serves their community through diverse programming in a way that no other medium does,” he explained.

Senate Ed Markey

The legislation has brought strange bedfellows together in Congress. In the Senate Ed Markey, a liberal Democrat from Massachusetts, teamed up with Ted Cruz, a conservative Republican from Texas, to lead the charge.

Senator Ted Cruz

“This issue has brought together a consensus on the Democrat and Republican sides that is extremely atypical,” LeGeyt said. “What to me is most encouraging about this is hundreds of thousands of people took the time to reach out to their legislators and say, ‘This matters to me, it matters to my family.’ They care. And what we’re doing to serve local communities, whether you’re in radio, television, AM or FM, this should be an inspirational story to all of us on the best of broadcast, if we all fulfill our mission.”

Information: INSIDE RADIO