DES MOINES – Some car manufacturers have announced plans to no longer include AM radio in new car models. For local AM stations in Iowa the shift could cause trouble.
Todd Steinkamp, the Owner and General Manager of News Talk 1230 KFJB AM, said that AM radio no longer being in cars would hurt both stations and their listeners.
“If you were to turn it on and there was nothing there saying that there’s a tornado warning or there’s an Amber Alert, be on the lookout for this vehicle with this child possibly missing, that’s where people are going to be like how am I going to get this information, I don’t have anything else. Local radio is what they come to so it would hurt both professionally as a business but also hurt the public as well,” Steinkamp said.
KFJB has been broadcasting for 100 years but you don’t have to look that far back to see when its broadcast aided the public.
During the 2018 Marshalltown tornado, KFJB was able to share critical safety information with the public.
Steinkamp said that another important part of local AM radio is the reach it has to rural Iowans.
“In Iowa, we’re in a rural community, we have a lot of farmers, we have a lot of people. I was just talking to an individual last week, they don’t have high-speed internet, they live out in a rural area, they barely have dial-up out there. So to be able to have that access to them in those rural areas especially here in Iowa with all the farmers and all that information, it’s super important for all that information to be available,” Steinkamp said.
Congress is currently working on a bill that would require all car manufacturers to include AM radio in their cars.