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Farmers joining rural Americans in request to keep AM radio in every vehicle

Crystal Graham
woman adjusting radio in car auto vehicle
(© F8 – stock.adobe.com)

Farmers are joining millions of rural Americans who are asking Congress to guarantee access to AM radio in all vehicles.

The American Farm Bureau Federation is using its voice to express support for the AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act. The Act would direct the U.S. Department of Transportation to require that AM broadcast stations are accessible in all passenger motor vehicles manufactured in, imported into or shipped within the United States.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office also would be required to study whether a reliable alternative communication system exists for delivering emergency alerts.

Many Americans living in rural areas still lack broadband service and AM radio keeps them apprised of news that may impact their business.

Research released by the National Association of Farm Broadcasting shows 74 percent of farmers and ranchers across the U.S. listen to agriculture radio five or more days a week.

“AM radio is a source of weather, commodity and farm policy updates, and plays a particularly important role during times of emergency,” said Ben Rowe, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation national affairs director.

A single AM radio station can reach up to 700 miles, travel through barriers like mountains and buildings and remain available during power outages when other communications fail.

“Farm Bureau supports the AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act and appreciates Congress’ efforts to keep rural Americans connected,” Rowe said.

Awaiting action on the floor since last July, the AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act currently has 202 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives and 45 co-sponsors in the U.S. Senate.

Bipartisan efforts to pass the act by unanimous consent through the Senate on Dec. 5 were blocked by Sen. Rand Paul, who was seeking to substitute a modification to the bill to end electric vehicle subsidies under the American Vehicle Tax Credit.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.