Earlier this year InsiderAdvantage Georgia, which is now James Magazine Online, published my thoughts on the possibility of AM Radio not being available in many brands of electric vehicles. There has been great progress made over the past few months. Consider:

· Bipartisan support remains strong in both the House and the Senate. House Bill 3413 has 147 members of Congress as cosponsors. At last count there were 77 Republicans and 70 Democrats, a truly bipartisan bill in these contentious times.

· Senate Bill 1669 has 28 members cosponsoring the bill and, just days before the August recess, the Senate markup process moved the bill forward. Both Georgia senators are supporters of Senate Bill 1669.

· All three Federal Communications commissioners and Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel support the need for AM Radio to remain in all vehicles. The past four FCC directors are also supporters of our legislation.

The recent fire tragedy in Hawaii demonstrates the crucial role radio has when there is no power, no mobile phone service, no internet and the only source of reliable local information is the radio. Mobile phones and the internet rely on fragile, vulnerable, less accessible and more easily disrupted technology.

This legislation is primarily a public safety issue, as radio provides trusted local news and targeted information to the communities they serve. AM radio reaches 82 million people every month, a legacy medium that many thought was outdated and not needed, yet it has the support of farm broadcasters, religious broadcasters, immigrant communities and underserved communities. The National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters champions low cost of entry as a primary reason black owners are frequent owners and operators of AM stations.

Jaleigh Long, the market manager of Cox Media Group– whose WSB-AM last year celebrated 100 years of broadcast service and recently raised $2 million from CHOA– reminds us that radio is FREE to anyone with a radio and is a no cost option for information, entertainment, and public service.

While the radio industry has been galvanized and heartened by this overwhelming support, we all understand that in Washington nothing is ever over until the bill passes both houses of Congress and is signed by the president. We still need the support of people to reach out to their members of Congress and tell them you support keeping AM Radio in all vehicles.

As I write this article, Georgia is under a hurricane watch. Broadcasters around Georgia are prepared to do what they do best: Prepare and inform their audience of the latest conditions, and stand ready after the emergency to support their communities.

As president of the Georgia Association of Broadcasters, I often state, “It’s a great day to be a broadcaster in Georgia!” I am proud of the role all broadcasters have in serving their community every day– and more so during emergencies.

Bob Houghton is the president of the Georgia Association of Broadcasters


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