Will Carmakers Be the Ones to Finally Murder Conservative Talk Radio?

Rush Limbaugh was a great conservative talk radio host, but no one can replace him. Talk radio is a daily medium that reaches millions of conservatives. How many times do you get in your car and turn on the ignition to find that the radio has already been tuned to your favorite host or show?

Almost every time? Every time? I don’t think the virtual dial ever leaves my favorite local talk radio station when I’m driving with my iPhone and not listening to the music. Talk radio provides tens and millions of people with their daily dose of news and opinions.

In the late 1980s, talk radio boomed after Reagan’s administration repealed the Fairness Doctrine of 40 years. This had effectively silenced conservative voices on radio and TV. Rush led the charge, as he always did. The current host generation, which includes Mark Levin and Steve Deace as well as Dana Loesch and Dana Loesch among others, has been the most solid we have ever seen.

Er, ever heard.

Imagine you get into your car for the very first time. You turn on the radio, go to the infotainment display, look for an AM button and…there isn’t any. If Democrats in Washington, and automakers from Detroit have their way, it’s FM or nothing Jack — and no more of those annoying conservative talkers.

Salem Media, who pay my salary, informed me of this plan today. Fox Business reported that Ford has already removed AM radio from its “new and updated models” for 2024. Ford stated in a release that “a majority of U.S.AM stations, as well a number countries and automakers worldwide, are modernizing the radio by offering internet stream through mobile apps, and FM, digital, and satellite radio options.”

Ford isn’t leading the pack. The report claims that Ford is joining other automakers in “transitioning” away from AM radio. This “transition” is not a cost-saving move, since AM radio has been in cars for over a century and even the cheapest ones have it.

It’s not just me complaining about too many changes in Cranky Old Man Mode. I am a big fan of my smartphone, having been an early iPhone adopter in 2007. I also love the choice and convenience that streaming offers. There’s no doubting the reach, immediacy and locality of AM Radio. Westwood One reported in April that:

Amateur radio is listened to by 82,346,800 Americans each month.
Am radio reaches one out of every three AM/FM radio users in the United States.
News/Talk radio stations are the preferred choice of 57% of AM radio listeners, especially in times of crisis or breaking local news.

You’ll find it easy to stream the biggest names, like Dana, on your car’s information system. But what about local voices and minorities?

In the Los Angeles region, you can listen to 27 AM stations that are minority voices. In the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolis, 23 of 43 AM radio stations broadcast religious or minority programming. I don’t think a small Spanish-language station or religious program has the budget or cash to create a mobile application or to promote themselves against a planet’s worth competing podcasts. The small are squeezed out as the big grow.

AM radio will be there when the internet is down, as it would in times of war or natural disaster. AM radio can be used to find local, niche content. AM radio has voices that you won’t hear anywhere else. Soon, AM radio won’t be available in many new cars. Most people listen to their favorite AM stations while driving.

The Democrats have tried to kill conservative talk radio for years, but failed to do so. They repeatedly tried to revive the Fairness Doctrine. The ultimate irony would be if the car manufacturers, whose car radios made talk radio thrive, were to kill it all off.