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

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

No single conservative talk radio show could ever replace the late, great Rush Limbaugh, and maybe nothing can replace talk radio in its daily reach to millions of conservative listeners. How often do you hop in your car, turn the ignition, and find the radio is already on and tuned to your favorite host?


Every time? Almost every time? When I’m not listening to music in the car on my iPhone, I’m not sure the virtual dial has ever left my favorite local talk station. Talk radio is how tens of millions of us get our daily dose of unfiltered news and opinion.

Talk radio exploded in the late ’80s, after the Reagan Administration’s repeal of the 40-year-old Fairness Doctrine that had effectively squelched conservative voices on TV and radio. Rush, as was his wont, led the way. Many have followed, and the current generation of hosts that includes Mark Levin, Dana Loesch, Steve Deace, and so many others, is as solid as we’ve ever seen.

Er, ever heard.

Now imagine you hop in your new car for the first time, pull up the radio on the infotainment screen, look for the AM button, and… there isn’t one. It’s FM or nothin’, Jack — and none of those pesky conservative talkers — if Democrats in Washington and automakers in Detroit get their way.

I got a heads-up about this plan earlier today from the powers-at-be at Salem Media, the folks who sign my paychecks. Already, Ford is removing AM radio from “new and updated 2024 models,” according to a Fox Business report. Ford said in a press release that “A majority of U.S. AM stations, as well as a number of countries and automakers globally, are modernizing radio by offering internet streaming through mobile apps, FM, digital and satellite radio options.”


Ford isn’t even leading the way here. According to the report, they’re joining other carmakers in the “transition” from AM radio. It’s difficult to see this “transition” as a cost-saving measure since AM radio reception is a century old and has been included in even the least expensive cars for many decades.

This isn’t just me in Cranky Old Man Mode, bemoaning too much change. I love my smartphone (I was an early adopter of the original iPhone in 2007) and love the convenience and choice that streaming makes available. Still, there’s no denying the reach, the immediacy, and the locality of AM radio. Westwood One noted in April:

  • 82,346,800 Americans listen to AM radio monthly.
  • One out of three American AM/FM radio listeners is reached monthly by AM radio.
  • 57% of the AM radio audience listens to News/Talk stations, the very outlets that Americans turn to in times of crisis and breaking local news.

It’ll be easy enough to find the big names like Dana streaming on your car’s infotainment system, but what about local and minority voices?

Out of the 49 AM stations you can pick up in the Los Angeles area, 27 are minority voices. It’s a similar situation in the Dallas-Fort Worth megalopolis, where 23 out of 43 AM stations are minority voices, religious programming, or both. I’m not sure a tiny Spanish-language or religious station has the cash to develop a mobile app or the promotional budget to make themselves heard against an entire planet’s worth of competing podcasts. The big get bigger; the small get squeezed out.


When the internet goes down — as in a war or natural disaster — AM radio is there. When you want something local and niche, AM radio is there. When you want voices you can’t find anywhere else, AM radio is there. But soon it won’t be in most new cars, and driving is when most people tune into their favorite AM station.

Democrats tried for years to murder conservative talk radio with repeated failed attempts to resurrect the Fairness Doctrine. It would be the ultimate irony if carmakers — whose car radios helped make talk thrive — were the ones to finally kill most of it off.

I’ve been fighting the Fairness Doctrine and its various iterations for nearly as long as I’ve been blogging. While we’ve succeeded in keeping many of the Left’s power grabs at bay, the battle is far from over. We now have to deal with the corporate oligarchs calling the shots and trying to silence conservative media. Thanks to our VIP members’ support, we’re able to stay online and continue to bring you the unvarnished truth about the issues you care about. If you’d like to join us in the fight, sign up here. Use the promo code SAVEAMERICA for a 40% discount on your membership. I’m incredibly grateful for your support.



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