Ford Motor Company to Restore AM Radio to All 2024 Models and Offer Software Update to Previously Sold Electric Vehicles
In a move to prioritize public safety, Ford Motor Company announced on Tuesday that it will restore AM radio to all its 2024 models and will offer a software update to add the feature to previously sold electric vehicles without it. The decision came after a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced the AM for Every Vehicle Act, which calls on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to require AM radio in all new vehicles at no additional cost. The bill was prompted by reports that automakers, including Ford, BMW, Tesla, Volkswagen, and Mazda, were removing AM radio from their vehicles, citing interference with electric engines.
Lawmakers argue that AM radio is necessary for providing emergency alerts to the public, particularly in rural areas, and that its decline as a medium is a threat to public safety. The National Association of Broadcasters reports that 82 million Americans still listen to AM stations each month, including Black, Asian, and Hispanic communities, immigrants, and rural listeners who depend on it for local news, religious programming, entertainment, and sports.
Ford’s decision was praised by many in the radio business, but some in the audio entertainment industry argue that AM radios are obsolete and should be relegated to the junk heap of technology. Automakers also argue that there are alternative technologies, such as internet streaming, HD radio delivered on FM bands, and apps that provide AM content, that make up for the absence of AM radio in vehicles.
Regardless of the debate, Ford’s move sets a precedent for other automakers to follow. Representative Josh Gottheimer, who co-sponsored the AM for Every Vehicle Act, called on other automakers, like Tesla, to realize how important AM radio is to public safety and to add it to their vehicles. As technology advances, it’s important to remember that sometimes, older technologies still serve a vital purpose in keeping us safe.
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