Press Release | April 30, 2024

Consumer Technology Association CEO Gary Shapiro Urges Congress to Uphold Consumer Choice in Vehicle Technologies

Ed Frank
Today, Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)®, testified before the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Innovation, Data and Commerce, advocating for consumer freedom in choosing vehicle technologies.

At the center of Shapiro's testimony was opposition to the proposed AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act, which would mandate the inclusion of analog AM radio in all new vehicles. He argued that such a mandate would stifle innovation in the automotive sector, placing American automakers at a strategic disadvantage in the global market.

“The power to determine what entertainment technologies belong in their cars should rest with American consumers, not with radio broadcasters,” Shapiro testified.

Shapiro stressed the importance of marketplace competition in driving innovation and economic growth. He underscored CTA’s commitment to policies that prioritize consumer preferences and freedom of choice, rather than government mandates.

Just 1 percent of Americans received the October 2023 emergency alert via AM radio, while more than 95 percent received the alert on their mobile phones, according to consumer preference research conducted by CTA. Emergency alert systems other than AM radio offer broader reach and greater effectiveness in broadcasting emergency information. Shapiro advocated for leveraging these advancements rather than creating new mandates for century-old technology.

Shapiro also raised concerns about the unfair treatment of musicians on terrestrial radio, which does not pay royalties for music usage, unlike digital and streaming platforms.

“AM and FM are the only forms of radio that do not pay performers for their work,” Shapiro testified. “Yet, digital and streaming platforms pay performance royalties. These terrestrial stations use music to build their audience, allowing broadcasters to make billions in revenue from advertising, while paying nothing to performers. This is disturbing given over 240 million songs are played on AM radio every year. As legislators have rightly pointed out, the U.S. is the only democratic nation in the world where artists are not compensated for the use of their songs on AM or FM radio. Mandating AM radio would condone this unfair system, allowing the broadcast industry to reap profits at the expense of artists.”

CTA has worked with the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, Technet, Zero Emission Transportation Association, plus many allied organizations and member companies across the mobility ecosystem to oppose this unprecedented and unnecessary AM radio mandate. Learn more about CTA’s work on the issue here.