Ford Changes Its Mind on AM Car Radios

(May 23, 2023) – In an early victory for the AM For Every Vehicle Act, Ford Motor Company has reversed its decision to remove AM radio from its new vehicles. CEO Jim Farley announced on social media that AM radio will be included in all gasoline and electric 2024 Ford and Lincoln vehicles, and a software update will be offered to restore AM capability in Ford’s electric vehicles sold without it.

In the interim, Farley said, “Customers can currently listen to AM radio content in a variety of ways in our vehicles – including via streaming – and we will continue to innovate to deliver even better in-vehicle entertainment and emergency notification options in the future. Thanks to our product development and manufacturing teams for their quick response to make this change for our customers.”

Ford has been engaged in discussions with policy leaders about the loss of emergency alerts transmitted on AM, in relation to the bipartisan AM For Every Vehicle Act, which would mandate the inclusion of AM radio in new vehicles at no additional cost.

Concern over AM’s removal has been growing since major automakers like Ford, BMW, and Tesla have been phasing out access. When Ford initially removed AM, they cited low customer usage, electrical interference concerns, and cost considerations.

Senator Ed Markey, one of the co-sponsors of the AM For Every Vehicle Act, said, “I applaud Ford for tuning into the concerns of millions of listeners, thousands of broadcasters, and countless emergency management officials who have called for automakers to keep AM radio in their vehicles. AM radio is more than just an essential safety feature—it’s a free, accessible source for anyone to listen to music, news, sports, and entertainment.”

“Innovation in the automotive industry should mean more features, not fewer, for consumers. Ford’s reversal reflects an overdue realization about the importance of AM radio, but too many automakers are still going the wrong direction. Congress must pass my AM for Every Vehicle Act to maintain access to AM radio for years to come.”

Ford only mentioned the United States, leaving remaining cause for concern for Canadian broadcasters who also rely on AM.

The National Association of Broadcasters also commended Ford Motor Company for its decision to include AM radio in its future vehicles in the United States. NAB President Curtis LeGeyt said, “NAB commends Ford for committing to keep AM radio in their vehicles, which will keep Americans safe and informed, particularly in times of emergency.”

“In light of Ford’s announcement, NAB urges other automakers who have removed AM radio from their vehicles to follow Ford’s lead and restore this technology in the interest of listeners and public safety.”

(This article was published by Radio Ink on March 23, 2023).

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