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Kansas House Passes AM Radio Support Resolution


By Lucky Kidd


On a 109-14 vote the Kansas House of Representatives Wednesday passed and sent to the Senate a resolution supporting efforts to keep AM radios in vehicles, endorsing the Federal AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act.

The AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act, proposed in the 118th Congress, aims to enhance access to AM radio by requiring that all new vehicles sold in the United States come equipped with AM radio receivers. This legislation recognizes the enduring importance of AM radio in providing emergency information and ensuring nationwide access to essential broadcasts. By ensuring that every vehicle on the road is equipped with AM radio capabilities, this act would bolster the effectiveness of the National Emergency Alert System and help safeguard the well-being of all Americans, including those in rural and underserved areas.

The legislation comes as a response to automakers removing AM radio as a feature in electric vehicles and from some new models of internal combustion engine vehicles. Removing AM radio from cars jeopardizes the National Emergency Alert System infrastructure. When internet and cell phone towers go down, AM radio remains. Nothing extends further or is more reliable than AM radio. AM radio is also vital to agricultural communities, providing weather updates, crop reports, and other information to farmers and ranchers.

Allison Mazzei, president of the Kansas Association of Broadcasters said, “The passage of this resolution tells Congress that Kansans want AM radio in vehicles. Radio serves as a cornerstone of communication, providing essential information and ensuring public safety across our state.”

Broadcaster and State Representative Ken Rahjes was the lead sponsor of the resolution. “Bad weather or just information, where do you turn? You turn to the radio,” he said. “What this resolution does is send notice to our delegation to support the AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act.” House Concurrent Resolution 5026 has among its co-sponsors Representatives Joe Seiwert of Pretty Prairie and Clarke Sanders of Salina, a retired broadcaster.

Two area house members voted against the resolution. Representative Jason Probst of Hutchinson told Ad Astra News in an email he voted against it because he didn’t think the government ought to be telling businesses in a free market that they’re required to include something that’s not directly related to driver or highway safety. Similar reasons were cited by Representative Brett Fairchild of St. John, who told the Kansas Reflector “I believe this violates free market principles and limited principles.”

Currently, the AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act has 226 co-sponsors in the US House and 48 in the Senate. The Kansas Association of Broadcasters has diligently advocated for the bill, meeting with every member of our state’s federal delegation to garner support for this crucial legislation. Members of the Kansas delegation who have co-sponsored the bill include U.S. Senator Roger Marshall and U.S. Reps. Sharice Davids, Ron Estes, and Tracey Mann. Their recognition of the vital role that radio plays in serving the public interest underscores the bipartisan nature of this initiative and reflects a shared commitment to enhancing emergency communication capabilities nationwide.