May 19 Show: President of AZ Broadcasters Association, Chris Kline, Discusses Car Makers Killing AM Radio

Brian Sussman talks with Chris Kline, CEO of the Arizona Broadcasters Association about the future of AM Radio and media in Arizona.

Major U.S. automaker Ford is eliminating AM radio from nearly all of its new vehicles – gas and electric – citing data showing less than 5% of in-car listening is from those stations. 

Manufacturers such as BMW, Mazda, Tesla, and Volkswagen are taking AM radio out of new electric vehicles over concerns their engines will interfere with how AM stations sound, according to The Washington Post.

Trade group the National Association of Broadcasters said in April that over 82 million people in the U.S. listen every month to AM radio, which mostly broadcasts news, talk radio, and sports. In the 2023 Arizona Media Study, Arizona Broadcasters Association said “Local radio consumption (for music, sports, news, etc..) remained the #1 audio platform in Arizona”

Bi-partisan Reps. Mike Gallagher, a Wisconsin Republican, and Josh Gottheimer, a New Jersey Democrat, wrote a letter last week to Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell expressing concerns about the switch resulting in motorists losing a major warning platform.

“AM radio is the backbone of the nation’s Emergency Alert System,” the congressmen wrote, referring to the national warning system that authorities use to distribute public safety alerts such as severe weather information and AMBER alerts. 

The lawmakers told FEMA it is “vital” that the federal agency “make clear the negative impacts that lacking access to AM radio will have on public safety infrastructure.”

The proposed transition is already facing opposition from a big-time lobby group, Capitol Hill, and beyond. *Source Just the News


Chris Kline has been President & CEO of the Arizona Broadcasters Association since October 2018 to present. The Arizona Broadcasters Association is a 501-c(6) non-profit corporation that acts as the official trade association for Arizona’s local radio and TV stations. ABA membership includes more than 225 radio stations, television stations and associate members, and is led by a President/CEO and governed by a board of directors.

As CEO of ABA Chris Kline is leader of all shared services, marketing partnerships and innovation for Arizona’s $1.16 billion mass media broadcasting industry, and 8 million consumers at the state and national level. Brand ambassador to government, agency and private partners, leveraging my digital innovation background to help accelerate evolution and future proof local media. Doubled Association’s annual revenue in first 30 months by reimagining under-utilized programs. Grew membership by 30% in first two years by launching three marquee services. Previously Mr Kline was Senior Director of News and Content at ABC15 Phoenix.

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