Industry Views

Is Eliminating AM Radio from EVs a Serious Threat to Talk Radio?

An in-depth article by automotive writer Dale Buss published today (2/2) in Forbes is adding volume to radio industry chatter about the seemingly ominous trend toward elimination of AM radio from the dashboard of electric cars based on the premise that the already-static-sensitive band’s listenability would be obliterated by these vehicles’ intense electromagnetic fields. The article titled, EV Makers Are Eliminating AM Radio, Infringing On Iconic Medium, quotes TALKERS founder Michael Harrison who also contributed to some of the piece’s “background” information and premises. In the article, Harrison supports the observation that the sale of EVs constitutes a small fraction of the current automotive marketplace and it will be years before they achieve a critical mass to impact the health of AM radio. In the meantime, Harrison asserted at this morning’s meeting of the TALKERS editorial board, “There are far more immediate existential threats to AM radio, not to mention FM radio, with which the broadcasting industry must contend.” He points out, “Relevance and identity! AM radio being dumped from dashboards is an innocuous thing to worry about. FM radio will be dumped from the dashboard as well… the entire idea of a radio-exclusive appliance is on the verge of obsolescence… and we’re not just talking about electric vehicles – we’re talking about all vehicles! We’re faced with an all-encompassing computer system at the fingertips and voice control of the driver and passengers.” Harrison continues, “In the meantime, today’s media consumers are savvy enough to know how to find their entertainment and information brands via the combination of Bluetooth and smartphone. Thus, the challenge facing both AM and FM radio – two increasingly irrelevant designations – is to maintain the importance, distinguishability and brand of the medium itself – R-A-D-I-O – and not let it get lost in an endless ocean of options available to the potential audience.” Read the Forbes piece here.