Fighting for AM in New Cars; NAB Pleads with BMW.
After learning that BMW’s new electric model – the i3 – will not include an AM radio due to the engine’s causing interference with AM reception, the NAB’sGordon Smith wrote a letter to BMW asking the company to reconsider the move and re-engineer the system to accommodate AM, as some other manufacturers have.
Smith writes, “In the last decade, AM radio has embraced an evolution towards ethnic language programming, with a wide variety of formats serving a melting pot of diverse communities that make up the fabric of America. Indeed, two-thirds of all minority-owned stations are now broadcast on the AM band; and many of these radio stations serve as a community gathering spot for vital information about health services, education and job opportunities.” Smith goes on to note that in many markets, sports broadcasts – from high school to the professional level – are only heard on AM signals.
How BMW will respond, if at all, is anyone’s guess but it’s worth noting that radio stations that are also streamed could be heard via the owner’s smartphone which the i3 allows to be connected to its audio system. Still, that the AM band — where most talk radio shows reside — is considered disposable by a major auto manufacturer (combined with the growing popularity of electric autos) is a huge red flag for AM stick owners.