Ford Dropping AM Radio In All Consumer Vehicles

Ford is making the controversial decision to drop AM radio across its entire lineup, save its commercial vehicles....
Ford Dropping AM Radio In All Consumer Vehicles
Written by Staff
  • Ford is making the controversial decision to drop AM radio across its entire lineup, save its commercial vehicles.

    AM radio is not as popular as it once was, and many automakers no longer see it as a necessary feature. Tesla has not offered the option for years, and some European car makers have followed suit. Ford now joins their ranks, eliminating AM radio in its non-commercial vehicles beginning in 2024.

    “We are transitioning from AM radio for most new and updated 2024 models,” Ford spokesman Wes Sherwood told the Detroit Free Press. “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.”

    According to Free Press, the decision goes hand-in-hand with the move to electric vehicles. EV motors generate electromagnetic interference that can disrupt AM radio reception.

    “In essence, EV motors generate a lot of electromagnetic interference that affects the frequencies of AM radio and make it difficult to get a clear signal,” said Mike Ramsey, an analyst with Stamford, Connecticut-based Gartner Research Group. “It could be shielded, but given the diminishing listening habits to AM, the automakers haven’t chosen to do it. Most of the content there is available through other means, including podcast and internet streaming. In my view, this isn’t that different from automakers discontinuing 8-track players, cassette players and CD players. Technology has advanced. The idea that it is a critical safety channel is a bit suspect given that almost all critical communication now is sent through mobile phones.”

    Unfortunately, despite its drop in popularity, AM radio still plays an important role, serving as the backbone of the US Emergency Alert System, as well as a source for weather and traffic reports.

    “There’s no question that AM radio plays a critical role in informing Americans and keeping them safe; it is the backbone of the Emergency Alert System. This is why numerous policymakers and FEMA representatives have sounded alarm bells for automakers,” Alex Siciliano, senior vice president for communication at the National Association of Broadcasters, told the Free Press. “We are certain that Ford does not want to alienate the nearly 48 million Americans who listen to AM radio, and we’ll continue working closely with the Alliance for Automotive Innovation and individual manufacturers to keep this important service in cars.”

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