AM For Every Vehicle Act

Here are some of the regulatory developments of significance to broadcasters from the past week, with links to where you can find more information as to how these actions may affect your operations.

  • The debate over the AM for Every Vehicle Act intensified this week, with the Wall Street Journal’s Editorial Board publishing an article

With broadcasters and those in associated industries ready to make their annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas for the NAB Convention, the Wall Street Journal decided to weigh in on an issue important to many radio broadcasters – the future of AM in the car.  One of the priorities for many AM broadcasters in the last year has been to push for legislation to require that automobile manufacturers retain AM radio in the car dashboard to stem what many see as a trend toward removing AM (and potentially other free over-the-air radio options) from the car and replacing it with other entertainment options.  The concerns of broadcasters have led to the introduction in Congress of the AM in Every Vehicle Act, which proposes to mandate that AM be required as a safety feature in all cars until it is determined that there is another, free, ubiquitous option to deliver emergency alerts to drivers.  See our articles here and here for more on the Act.

While this Act has garnered much support on Capitol Hill, there has been a concern among some legislators about requiring mandates on a car industry, particularly for a technology that many see as outdated and in decline (see the declining numbers of AM stations we noted in our last weekly update on regulatory news for broadcasters, citing the FCC’s latest report on the number of broadcast stations in the country).  The Journal Editorial Board article takes that same position, almost treating the attempts to keep AM radio in cars as a joke, arguing that it imposes additional unnecessary costs on car makers – costs that will be borne by all car buyers, even those who don’t need or use AM radio.  The article suggests that the emergency communications function is unnecessary as there are other alternatives to receive emergency alerts even in rural areas of the country.  The article asks if mandating AM in the home is next, and suggests that, without a mandate, car makers could use AM as a competitive feature to attract consumers to brands that maintain these radios in the car.Continue Reading On the Eve of the NAB Convention, Wall Street Journal Editorial Board Article Opposes AM in Every Vehicle Act

Here are some of the regulatory developments of significance to broadcasters from the past week, with links to where you can go to find more information as to how these actions may affect your operations.

  • Congress passed, and the President signed, a continuing resolution to extend funding for the Federal government, including the FCC, averting

Here are some of the regulatory developments of significance to broadcasters from the past two weeks, with links to where you can go to find more information as to how these actions may affect your operations.

  • The AM for Every Vehicle Act was scheduled for a US Senate vote this week through an expedited process

Here are some of the regulatory developments of significance to broadcasters from the past week, with links to where you can go to find more information as to how these actions may affect your operations.

  • On July 28, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued an opinion rejecting appeals

Here are some of the regulatory developments of significance to broadcasters from the past week, with links to where you can go to find more information as to how these actions may affect your operations.

  • On Tuesday, the Communications and Technology Subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing, “Listen Here:

AM radio (and broadcast radio in general) received strong support from Congressional representatives during this week’s hearing before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Communications and Technology subcommittee. Significant time was spent on recognizing AM radio’s important role  in the emergency communications network, both in delivering emergency alerts from the EAS system and in conveying additional information of importance to the public through news and public affairs programming (see the initial statement of J Chapman, a broadcaster based in Indiana who testified on behalf of the AM industry, and the statement of an official of the New Jersey State Police, who talked about the importance of AM in providing emergency information).  Virtually all the representatives urged car companies to retain AM in cars.  Despite this widespread support, some of the legislators expressed reluctance to adopt a legal mandate to require AM in cars, particularly representatives who have philosophical reservations about the government mandating business decisions.  That position was of course highlighted by the testimony of the representative of the automotive industry.  In the day’s discussion of these questions, some clues to the future of entertainment in the car may have emerged.

AM and public safety advocates at the hearing argued that AM radio needed to be protected.  They emphasized that AM provides the backbone of the emergency alert system due to the ability of high-powered AM stations to cover vast distances unimpeded by terrain obstacles. Even the sole representative of the automobile industry on the panel agreed that, at this point, over the air radio provides the best and most reliable source of free emergency alerts. The additional contextual information provided by news/talk AM stations was also emphasized, as stations can go beyond simply delivering a government issued emergency alert by providing in its programming the details and relevant context in any emergency.  While not central to the discussion, especially in the later parts of the hearing, there was also talk of the importance of providing a free audio service to the public for more than just emergency programming, particularly a service that often programs to underserved groups.  Protecting the investment of radio operators was also mentioned, as removing AM from cars would vastly decrease the potential audience for most of these stations. The desire to continue providing service to the public from AM stations was the broadcaster’s vision of the future of entertainment options in the car.Continue Reading The Congressional Hearing on AM Radio – A Look at the Future of Audio Entertainment in the Car?

Here are some of the regulatory developments of significance to broadcasters from the past week, with links to where you can go to find more information as to how these actions may affect your operations.

  • The House Energy and Commerce Committee, through its Communications and Technology Subcommittee, announced that its hearing on the AM For

Though school is out for many, the FCC does not take a summer recess.  Instead, regulation continues.  While the pace of new FCC regulatory issues for broadcasters has slowed, perhaps pending the confirmation of a new Commissioner and the return of the FCC to full strength, there are still regulatory matters in June worth watching.  Some are routine, others look more to the future – but all are worth watching just the same. 

One of the routine regulatory deadlines comes on June 1, as it is the deadline for Radio and Television Station Employment Units in Arizona, District of Columbia, Idaho, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming with 5 or more full-time employees to upload to their online public inspection file their Annual EEO Public File Report. A station employment unit is a station or cluster of commonly controlled stations serving the same general geographic area having at least one common employee.  For employment units with 5 or more full-time employees, the annual report covers hiring and employment outreach activities for the prior year.  A link to the uploaded report must also be included on the home page of a station’s website, if it has a website. Continue Reading June Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – EEO, Rulemaking Comments, AM Congressional Hearings, and More

Here are some of the regulatory developments of significance to broadcasters from the past week, with links to where you can go to find more information as to how these actions may affect your operations.

  • The Biden Administration nominated Anna Gomez to be an FCC Commissioner.  She will fill the open seat to which Gigi