The removal of AM radio in electric vehicles from eight of the top 20 automakers producing vehicles in the United States is creating shock waves in the broadcasting industry. This is particularly true for Black owned radio broadcasters, who own 103 AM radio stations. The impact of the technological shift could pose catastrophic consequences for these Black owned radio broadcasters and the audiences they serve, including negative implications to public safety.

“This represents a huge setback for AM radio stations serving the needs of the African American community, as AM radio is a crucial medium for delivering content that is culturally relevant and often missing from other formats,” wrote Jim Winston, President and CEO of The National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB) in a letter addressed to Rep. Steve Horsford, the Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).

He continued, “The removal of AM radio from electric vehicles would be a step backward in broadcasters’ efforts to promote diversity and inclusivity in media. It would reinforce the dominance of mainstream media outlets and limit the diversity of voices and perspectives that are heard.”

Winston penned the letter enlisting support from Black lawmakers citing concerns on its far reaching effects on the Black community.

“Black audiences rely upon AM radio for news, religious, and entertainment programming. As the country moves toward greater use of electric vehicles, the loss of AM radio in their cars will have a severe negative impact on Black communities across the country. This is an issue that negatively impacts the entire radio industry, and NABOB is working with other industry organizations to address this issue.”  

Forbes reports, “New EVs manufactured by BMW, Porsche, Audi, Volvo, Ford F-150 Lightning truck, Volkswagen SUV and Tesla Model S have dropped AM radio. Ford announced in March plans to phase out AM radio in most of its new and updated car models, even those with internal combustion engines.”

[ux_image id=”4583″ image_size=”thumbnail”]


The National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB) represents 257 Black owned broadcast media outlets and networks, including 103 AM radio stations. NABOB members own fewer than 2% of the 11,000 commercial AM & FM radio stations in America.

For many Black owned radio broadcasters, the removal of AM radio in electric vehicles will have a compounding effect, magnifying the inequities of broadcast ownership.

Historically, Black owned radio broadcasters have experienced challenges accessing capital and have experienced prejudice within the media advertising industry resulting in delayed digital transformations. The current proposition to remove access to AM radio in electric vehicles creates an additional threat to the amplification of Black voices, jeopardizing the vitality of Black owned radio.

“Many AM radio stations are locally owned and operated, so they have a vested interest in covering stories that address the unique cultural and local needs of the communities they serve,” Winston explained. 

Winston also raises accessibility and public safety as causes for concern. 

“Delivering this content over-the-air ensures that it is accessible to those who may not have reliable internet access or who cannot afford subscription services. For those living in rural areas, with unreliable wireless and/or broadband connections, AM radio is widely available, always on and accessible without subscription fees or data caps. During times of emergency and natural disasters, when power outages often cause wireless networks to fail, AM radio stations form the backbone of the emergency alert system. With the removal of AM from the dash, auto manufacturers are undermining the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) system for delivering critical public safety information.”

In closing, Winston encourages the CBC to help NABOB convey to auto manufacturers the importance of AM broadcast radio to African Americans across the U.S. and looks forward to working together to maintain AM radio in the dashboard of electric vehicles made in America.

Click the button below to read Winston’s letter to the CBC!

[button text=”READ FULL LETTER TO CBC!” color=”secondary” size=”larger” radius=”10″ expand=”true” link=””]

Malcare WordPress Security