Ford to Drop AM Radio From Most New Vehicles

Ford Motor Co. is preparing to drop AM radio from most of its new vehicles next year, according to a report. The Detroit-based automaker confirmed the move to the Detroit Free Press on April 1, despite concerns from federal officials over American drivers losing access to safety alert broadcasts over the airwaves. “We are transitioning from AM radio for most new and updated 2024 models,” including the electric-powered Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning pickup, said Ford spokesman Wes Sherwood. “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 will continue to offer these alternatives for customers to hear their favorite AM radio music, news, and podcasts as we remove amplitude modulation—the definition of AM in this case—from most new and updated models we bring to market,” Sherwood added. Sherwood explained that commercial vehicles would still retain AM radio because of longstanding contract language. Drivers often listen to AM radio for live traffic updates and weather reports, as well as emergency updates. Radio Format Being Removed for Cost Purposes Over the past few years, many automakers have removed AM radio due to electromagnetic interference with electric vehicles affecting the quality of the signal and due to cost-cutting purposes, as less people listen to the format. Ford t0ld The Wall Street Journal in 2022 that it would remove AM radio from its 2023 model year F-150 Lightning electric trucks as “the frequencies involved in AM radio tend to be directly affected by the electromagnetic noise in EV propulsion systems.” The cost of shielding AM receivers is not worth it for most carmakers, and the majority of people on the road now receive most of their critical communications through their mobile phones. Much of the other content offered on the radio format is also available through podcasts and internet streaming on FM, digital, and satellite radio. “I don’t know how many companies have dropped AM radio for EVs, but most of the German companies and Volvo have and now Ford,” Mike Ramsey, an analyst with Gartner Research Group, told the Detroit Free Press. Tesla removed AM radio in its electric vehicles years ago, while General Motors and Stellantis have recently confirmed plans to review AM radio access in their 2024 vehicles. “We are evaluating AM radio on future vehicles and not providing any further details at this time,” GM spokesman Stuart Fowle told the Detroit Free Press. Meanwhile, Stellantis spokeswoman Jodi Tinson told the paper that products including Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge ,and Ram will continue offering AM radio services. Current and Former Government Officials Urge Retention of AM Radio The Wall Street Journal reported in late February that several former Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrators wrote to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Congress, asking for the federal government to seek assurances from automakers that AM radio will remain in vehicles, so alerts from FEMA during natural disasters and extreme weather events, can be delivered. “When all else fails, radio stations are often the last line of communications that communities have,” Craig Fugate, a former head of FEMA, told The Wall Street Journal. “AM radio is critical to ensuring information can reach many Americans during times of crisis,” Curtis LeGeyt, CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters, wrote in March. He said that broadcast industry leaders and radio executives are pushing automakers to keep AM radio in vehicles. “With its unique ability to reach a wide geographic area, AM broadcasting offers many Americans struggling with poor, or non-existent, cellular, and broadband coverage a chance to stay connected,” explained LeGeyt. “The car is often the only source of power and news for many in times of emergency.” Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commissioner Nathan Simington urged automakers to keep AM radio in electric vehicles, emphasizing its key public safety benefits. Massachusetts Senator Sends Concerns to Automakers Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, sent a letter to 20 EV manufacturers in December 2022, stating his concern over the future of AM radio in their vehicles. “Of the 20 companies, eight—BMW, Ford, Mazda, Polestar, Rivian, Tesla, Volkswagen, and Volvo—have removed broadcast AM radio from their electric vehicles,” he noted in a press statement on March 8, which accused Mercedes-Benz and General Motors of refusing to provide individual responses. “Ten automakers—Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar/Land Rover, Kia, Lucid, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Stellantis, Subaru, and Toyota—still maintain access to broadcast AM radio in their vehicles,” wrote Markey. “Broadcast AM radio is an essential part of our emergency alert infrastructur

Ford to Drop AM Radio From Most New Vehicles

Ford Motor Co. is preparing to drop AM radio from most of its new vehicles next year, according to a report.

The Detroit-based automaker confirmed the move to the Detroit Free Press on April 1, despite concerns from federal officials over American drivers losing access to safety alert broadcasts over the airwaves.

“We are transitioning from AM radio for most new and updated 2024 models,” including the electric-powered Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning pickup, said Ford spokesman Wes Sherwood.

“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 will continue to offer these alternatives for customers to hear their favorite AM radio music, news, and podcasts as we remove amplitude modulation—the definition of AM in this case—from most new and updated models we bring to market,” Sherwood added.

Sherwood explained that commercial vehicles would still retain AM radio because of longstanding contract language.

Drivers often listen to AM radio for live traffic updates and weather reports, as well as emergency updates.

Radio Format Being Removed for Cost Purposes

Over the past few years, many automakers have removed AM radio due to electromagnetic interference with electric vehicles affecting the quality of the signal and due to cost-cutting purposes, as less people listen to the format.

Ford t0ld The Wall Street Journal in 2022 that it would remove AM radio from its 2023 model year F-150 Lightning electric trucks as “the frequencies involved in AM radio tend to be directly affected by the electromagnetic noise in EV propulsion systems.”

The cost of shielding AM receivers is not worth it for most carmakers, and the majority of people on the road now receive most of their critical communications through their mobile phones.

Much of the other content offered on the radio format is also available through podcasts and internet streaming on FM, digital, and satellite radio.

“I don’t know how many companies have dropped AM radio for EVs, but most of the German companies and Volvo have and now Ford,” Mike Ramsey, an analyst with Gartner Research Group, told the Detroit Free Press.

Tesla removed AM radio in its electric vehicles years ago, while General Motors and Stellantis have recently confirmed plans to review AM radio access in their 2024 vehicles.

“We are evaluating AM radio on future vehicles and not providing any further details at this time,” GM spokesman Stuart Fowle told the Detroit Free Press.

Meanwhile, Stellantis spokeswoman Jodi Tinson told the paper that products including Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge ,and Ram will continue offering AM radio services.

Current and Former Government Officials Urge Retention of AM Radio

The Wall Street Journal reported in late February that several former Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrators wrote to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Congress, asking for the federal government to seek assurances from automakers that AM radio will remain in vehicles, so alerts from FEMA during natural disasters and extreme weather events, can be delivered.

“When all else fails, radio stations are often the last line of communications that communities have,” Craig Fugate, a former head of FEMA, told The Wall Street Journal.

“AM radio is critical to ensuring information can reach many Americans during times of crisis,” Curtis LeGeyt, CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters, wrote in March.

He said that broadcast industry leaders and radio executives are pushing automakers to keep AM radio in vehicles.

“With its unique ability to reach a wide geographic area, AM broadcasting offers many Americans struggling with poor, or non-existent, cellular, and broadband coverage a chance to stay connected,” explained LeGeyt.

“The car is often the only source of power and news for many in times of emergency.”

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commissioner Nathan Simington urged automakers to keep AM radio in electric vehicles, emphasizing its key public safety benefits.

Massachusetts Senator Sends Concerns to Automakers

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, sent a letter to 20 EV manufacturers in December 2022, stating his concern over the future of AM radio in their vehicles.

“Of the 20 companies, eight—BMW, Ford, Mazda, Polestar, Rivian, Tesla, Volkswagen, and Volvo—have removed broadcast AM radio from their electric vehicles,” he noted in a press statement on March 8, which accused Mercedes-Benz and General Motors of refusing to provide individual responses.

“Ten automakers—Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar/Land Rover, Kia, Lucid, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Stellantis, Subaru, and Toyota—still maintain access to broadcast AM radio in their vehicles,” wrote Markey.

“Broadcast AM radio is an essential part of our emergency alert infrastructure, but the responses to my letter show that far too many automakers are ignoring the critical safety benefits of AM radio.”

“Although many automakers suggested that other communication tools—such as internet radio—could replace broadcast AM radio, in an emergency, drivers might not have access to the internet and could miss critical safety information,” he continued.

“The truth is that broadcast AM radio is irreplaceable. As the auto industry rightfully replaces the internal combustion engine with electric batteries, I will continue to work to ensure that automakers maintain access to broadcast AM radio in all their vehicles,” added Markey.