Federal Government Must Press Car Companies To Keep AM Radio In Dashboards

Recently the National Association of Broadcasters stated that surely “automakers do not want to alienate the nearly 48 million Americans who listen to AM radio each week.”  If you have not been following this topic about car manufacturers and placement of radio sets in car dashboards—and admittingly there is a raft of headlines from the debt ceiling to the military needs for Ukraine that take precedence—it might seem an obscure and off-beat issue to be discussing.  But it is an issue that connects with many across the nation and for very important reasons.

Many may not be aware of the fact that AM radio is very much the backbone of the nation’s Emergency Alert System (EAS), and as such AM radio plays a critical role in informing Americans as well as keeping them safe when, and should, disaster strike.  While images of national calamity come to mind with the mention of EAS, I can attest to the importance of AM radio in the lives of people week in and week out.  A representative example of those 48 million in the nation impacted by AM radio would be ‘the Egg Harbor reporter’ who alerted me each snowstorm of the road conditions concerning a stretch of Northern Door County once the snow and sleet started to fall.

He was an articulate retired man who called the radio station often when I was on the air and since he lived close to a hill that was so troublesome during inclement weather gave me information that I then imparted to the radio listeners.  AM radio is very much a valued and even at times critical lifeline to information during emergencies and natural disasters.  Folks throughout Door and Kewaunee counties needed to know about storm-related information or news of detours around crash sites on highways or alerts about downed power lines in neighborhoods that needed to be avoided when walking or driving. The list goes on and on about today’s needs listeners have and the role AM radio still plays in communities across the nation.

So, it is alarming to learn of the response to a letter written by U.S. Senator Edward Markey to car companies asking them to maintain broadcast AM radio as a feature in electric vehicles and other future vehicles.  Markey wrote in December to all the big automakers: Ford, General Motors, Stellantis, BMW, and Kia among them. He asked for a thorough accounting of where AM radio receivers stand in the view of automakers and to inform him of any plans to discontinue access to AM in new cars.

The auto industry response comes from the Alliance for Automotive Innovation and appears to be a resounding non-endorsement of AM radio. In fact, the letter makes no mention of the industry’s intentions of keeping AM radio intact in the dashboard.  It instead pointed to the many other ways that Americans now can receive emergency alerting information.

The importance of this matter was clearly demonstrated when seven former FEMA officials asked the federal government to help keep AM radios in electric vehicles. In a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the group petitions the government to seek assurances from automakers to maintain AM radios in EVs, arguing that the band is vital to the federal National Public Warning System.

I can speak to this issue as a former broadcaster who understands the tight connections listeners have with a local radio station and the importance they placed on solid reporting and dissemination of alerts and updates concerning a wide array of issues. There is a bond radio announcers have with their communities and one that listeners rely on daily with the one behind the studio microphone. It is a really rather basic concept, something that even car executives should be able to grasp. Reliable communications via AM radio are something a very large segment of the citizenry desire to have access to in an emergency. 

WINK Radio Back In Fort Meyers Studio

Radio broadcasters, the local everyday folks who live and care about the community and share in both smiles and heartaches are in our hearts and back on the radio broadcasting from their studio. Thanks for what you all do at WINK.

From CNN…“Southwest Florida news station WINK headed back late Monday afternoon to its Fort Myers studios after having spent days broadcasting from a makeshift studio setup at its transmitter site. (Photo above.) The station had been forced to take extraordinary measures to stay on the air after storm surge from Ian coursed through its offices last week, damaging much of the outlet’s equipment and forcing staffers to temporarily move to that remote location. WINK’s senior EP Lenny Smith, however, shared the update that employees had returned. “I left my headset in the [WINK] control room when [Ian’s] storm surge started flooding our building,” Smith tweeted. “Five days later, I’m putting it back on.””

Last Snowman, First Robin On Madison Isthmus

While out for a walk today I came across the perfect images of March.  The last snowman of the year—and looking its age—as it gazes out onto a frozen Lake Monona.  High in a tree that will cast a shadow in summer upon the space where a child made the snowman, a robin was perched with a welcome to spring. 

With the awful news from Eastern Europe, a thought came to mind as I took photos of the robin.  An aunt wrote this week a line that seems most appropriate at this time. “If we could be assured of everything as we are of the arrival of Spring what a wonderful world it would be.”

MUST SEE: Intense Tornado Video From Inside Iowa Car

THY most intense tornado video I have ever watched. This is something we can almost actually feel as the funnel lands, moves, whips, destroys. The footage is from this past weekend when a multi-vortex EF-4 tornado near Winterset, Iowa blasted its way across the land.

Madison Kites On Ice Recalled By Historic Facebook Page

For a number of years, there was a most remarkable event held in Madison during the coldest month of the year. The ice on Lake Monona would be frozen solid and scores of people would flock together, bundled for the January weather to enjoy ‘Kites On Ice”.

Today Historic Madison WI Photo Group on Facebook posted a photo of James Wilson and myself on the lake while thrilling to the sights and sounds. (And no, we are not the ones on strings!)

There was no way not to become a 7-year old when out on the ice with the colorful and huge array of kites flying about. And these were no ordinary kites!  From all over the world people would come to showcase their talents with the artistry of kiting. Inside the Monona Terrace, there would be workshops and chances to meet the talented ones who mastered what many of us as kids never did.

As I looked out at frozen Lake Monona today I thought how exciting it would be if the event were still a Madison moment about to happen.  There is enough ice for the whole event this year!  I am not sure as to the reason why the kiting event left the city.  Perhaps attempts to make it too big back-fired, or someone wanted too much money to host the event, or funding dried up.  Those are usually the reasons good things in the city disappear.

Those who recall the event can smile over the magic of the kites and the way January once was on the Madison isthmus.

Kids Of All Ages On Frozen Lake Monona

The first time this season James and I ventured onto frozen Lake Monona…WOW–fun!! I only had one lens for the camera so the pics here are not perfect with the light—but if they could smile like my face!! Pictured is an iceboat, the neighborhood as seen from the lake, the Capitol, along with the power of Mother Nature as it pushed at least foot thick slabs of ice about like potato chips on a plate. Be a kid like us in the wintertime, too.

New Doty Land Podcast: “Sure Does Feel Stormy Today”

Podcaster Gregory Humphrey goes back to childhood days in Hancock, Wisconsin to prove weather of all sorts should be viewed up close.  Nothing is better than grandma’s arm around a shoulder as the thunder crashes or as a boy walking into the bracing winds of a winter snowstorm.  Nostalgic warm memories for anyone wishing to trek back in time. (7 minutes)

PB & Bacon 6, A Future YouTuber Doty Land

The world can be much more enjoyable when viewed from the perspective of a 9-year-old boy.  Rylan Spates, known to many as PB & Bacon 6,  shares his thoughts about everything from spiral stairsteps to rollercoasters.  He shows broadcasting savvy and makes for many enjoyable smiles and laughs along the way.  A wonderful podcast to start off a New Year!
  1. PB & Bacon 6, A Future YouTuber
  2. Memories Of Trans American School Of Broadcasting
  3. Elvis, Thunderstorms, Dan Rather, And Local Radio
  4. Sparking Moments Of Joy And Remembrance During The Long Goodbye
  5. Acting With Humanity In Time Of War Makes For New Film

You can hear Doty Land and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartradio, Spotify, Castro, and many other sites.

Letter From Home “Snow Squalls” 11/12/21

Every year since we arrived at this home in 2007 there are certain traditions that are now part and parcel of our lives. We love to get the Adirondack chairs out as soon as the first hint of spring is in the air. Watching fireflies on a warm summer night with a cup of tea or watching heat lightning on the horizon is utterly relaxing. Raking leaves into piles just knowing there is one neighborhood kid who will take advantage of them before they are bagged.

And then there is the yearly event which occurred today.

It can be generally assumed that in the last days of October, into the first couple of weeks in November, a day will dawn downright chilly. The skies will be somewhat clear so that even though the sun shines brightly at times, clouds can also bank about in the sky. Across the lake, on the Madison isthmus, there will be a whitish-gray that slopes out of the sky and skirts across the gray cold water, and as it does so flakes of snow fall. As the flakes arc across the lake and then up over the shoreline and onto the rooftops and sidewalks the wind picks up and dances the white wonders in the air. In short order, the snow stops and the sun shines again.

There is no doubt about what is happening. The first snow squalls of the season have arrived.

This week, knowing the cold weather was planning its arrival I trimmed the rose bushes and cut the blooms that had sprouted over the past couple of weeks due to unusually warm weather. As I did the work on the bushes I smiled at the thought of allowing them to linger outside, with snowflakes settled upon the blooms. That would be just as Sonny James sang in his song When The Snow Is On The Roses.

I readily admit to a bittersweet feeling when putting the gardens to bed for the winter, storing rakes away, and bringing the snow shovels up from the basement to the outside shed. I love putting on shorts and colorful summer shirts while wearing sandals.

But that feeling fades when the sights of today come down from the clouds, crosses the lake, and the feel of the wind ramping up hits my face, as the flakes fall.

The Catalpa tree in our yard is the last of the season to release its leaves. During the recent brisk winds and rain, the large plate-size leaves pelted the house as they let go, allowing the winds to careen them through the air, making for a nice sound when they plunked on the siding. There was a nice-sized pile after I raked them today.

But as I bagged them, one of the squalls moved overhead. The little ice crystals tinged on my hat and dusted the tar pavement. It was perfectly timed. I cleaned up a few other items needing attention and went inside. After hanging my work jacket up, and my hat in its location I opened the back door to the kitchen.

James had shallots simmering in a frying pan for the start of our ham omelet lunch. I poured another cup of coffee to take off the outdoor chill.

The start of another winter is underway. And it feels good.

And so it goes.