Skip to content

AM Radio – Rooted in Michigan, Part of Our Future

June 9, 2023

Sam Klemet

By: Sam Klemet, President & CEO,
Michigan Association of Broadcasters

AM radio’s history has deep roots in Michigan. The oldest station in the state and first commercial radio station in the country – WWJ-AM – went on air in August of 1920 and since then, the AM band in Michigan has kept Michiganders entertained, informed, and most importantly safe during times of emergency and crisis.

And, while the media landscape over the last 100 years have evolved immensely, the people of Michigan and more than 82-million Americans overall listen to AM radio monthly.

The more than 280 AM radio stations in Michigan are an important place for dialogue and conversation.

AM radio remains a key place for local businesses to connect with customers and with the erosion of local newspapers, radio continues to be a primary source of local information and content. But, deeper than that, they are a fabric of the overall success of local communities.

For example, in March of 2022, WJR-AM (Detroit) raised more than $1.7-million for the Salvation Army of Metro Detroit during its 35th Annual Bed & Bread Club Radiothon to combat hunger and homelessness.

WWJ-AM (Detroit) raised $416,00 for heating assistance for city residents in need.

WSGW-AM (Saginaw) has been named a Service to America finalist for its coverage of flooding in Midland and WMMI-AM (Shepherd) received special Congressional recognition for it receiving the Mount Pleasant Chamber of Commerce Community Service award.

And these are just a few of many examples of how AM stations embed themselves into the daily lives of the communities they serve.

Early this week, members of Congress heard testimony about the importance of keeping AM radio in vehicles during the House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee. Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI6) and Tim Walberg (R-MI5), who sit on the subcommittee, outlined to deep value of AM radio to communities.

Reps. Dingell and Walberg are two strong supporters of broadcasters on this issue as is Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI11) who, last year, advocated for research and development funding to combat interference issues in electric vehicles as well as State Representative Neil Friske (R, MI-107) who sent a letter along with seven other state lawmakers encouraging Ford to reverse it’s decision to remove AM from its vehicles – which they ultimately did.

Ensuring that AM and FM radio stations remain in vehicles moving forward means that Michiganders and the rest of America will have access to reliable emergency alerts, local news and information, and free music and entertainment.

AM radio is part of the state’s rich history and will continue to be a part of its future.

Scroll To Top