Ford reverses plan to ditch AM radio after congressional attention

Ford reverses plan to ditch AM radio after congressional attention
May 2023

Today is just an AM-tastic day, isn't it? Earlier this morning, we reported on industry pushback against congressional plans to mandate AM radios in all new cars. The topic has been building for some time now--Tesla and BMW dropped AM radio from new electric vehicles some years ago--but it made headlines again in February when Ford revealed that the 2024 Mustang would lose the ability to pick up AM. Well, Ford has changed the channel on its decision and will restore AM radio to its place on the dashboard.

The move was announced by Ford CEO Jim Farley, who took to Twitter with the news.

Although AM radio is mostly used by its adherents to listen to talk radio, sports, and local traffic, a bipartisan collection of Senators and Representatives introduced a bill last week to mandate the inclusion of AM radio in all new cars so they can receive messages in the case of an emergency. That argument evidently proved compelling:

After speaking with policy leaders about the importance of AM broadcast radio as a part of the emergency alert system, we've decided to include it on all 2024 @Ford & @LincolnMotorCo vehicles. For any owners of Ford EVs without AM broadcast capability, we'll offer a software update.

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.

The news was greeted warmly by Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who last year questioned Ford, BMW, General Motors, Honda Motor, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Lucid, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Polestar, Rivian, Stellantis, Subaru, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen Group, and Volvo about their plans to ditch AM radio, how they protect against EM interference in a car, and whether they offer free digital radios in their cars.

"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," Markey said in a statement. "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 consumer."