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Vintage Car Radio Deck

AM Radio Is Becoming Static

I have not thought much about AM radio since I signed on with SiriusXM. There just is no programming for me on AM radio. Yet, a story about AM radio stopped me in my tracks: The headline said, “Automakers are pulling the plug on AM radio.”

Vintage Car Radio DeckI know AM radio listenership is dramatically down but removing the terrestrial radio from cars would be the death knell to the medium. So, I did a little research and the news on AM (and even FM) in cars is not good.  For starters, electric motors generate radio frequency interference (RFI) in the same wavelengths as amplitude modulation (AM) signals. So, the electromagnetic noise from the electric motors would cause you to hear nothing buy static—it would be like listening to an AM station in a constant lightning storm.

BMW and Tesla are already eliminating AM radios. GM will follow, touting an in-car 4G alternative for streaming music.

The Detroit News reports that it may not be long before AM/FM radios will disappear from all new cars. Manufacturers are focusing on smartphone integration for  music streaming.

Locally the ratings tell a struggling game: There are six AM stations in the Cedar Rapids radio market (the 204th market in the county). According to Nielsen, the most listened to AM radio station has a 4.5 rating for spring 2020; next is 1.7, followed by many half-points or hash marks.

The future is arriving faster and faster for the internet of things integration into every aspect of our lives. And it is hard for most established media to keep up.

Written by:

Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle. After 12 years at KWWL, Mark became a business owner as a co-founder of ME&V — rebranded as AMPERAGE in 2015. After 25 years of leading creative teams in video production, graphic design, PR, writing and web development, Mark transitioned out of ownership in 2021. Today he serves in an employee role as special projects consultant. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.” Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.” One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board. Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.