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Reduction in AM Radio Availability Will Impact EAS

The Emergency Alert System (EAS) uses AM radio spectrum.

The media world is in a bit of a tumult. Cable TV is in a significant decline as online streaming and new networks are eating into their market share.

While I listened primarily to WLRS, an AM radio station out of Chicago, to get my music as a kid, 50,000 watts is what I remember them touting. Today, most of my "radio" listening is on SIRUS/XM.

Which brings us to the point that Congress was just having a hearing about AM radio. One car company, Ford, has backtracked on eliminating AM radio from their car's entertainment system, a.k.a. the "radio."

A major reason being this: AM Radio’s Essential Role in the Emergency Alert System (EAS). This link explains the critical role that AM radio plays in our nations EAS portion of the warning system.

It points to the fact that as our culture evolves, so too must our emergency management systems and operational concepts. I'll also note that most cars in the 1960s didn't have an FM radio in addition to the AM radio.
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.