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In today’s world, technology is advancing faster than ever. Automakers are constantly evolving their vehicles to have the latest and greatest features. However, one feature is being left behind: AM radio. Recently, Ford announced its plan to eliminate AM radio from most of its 2024 models, including the Mustang Mach-E and the Ford F-150 Lightning pickup truck. Unfortunately, this decision has not gone down well with many government officials and consumers alike. 

Why is Ford dropping AM radio?

The interior, dashboard, and infotainment screen AM radio station of a Ford Mustang model in Brussels, Belgium
Ford Mustang infotainment screen radio | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

According to Ford, this decision has been made to accommodate the latest technological advancements and shifts toward digital technology. Most carmakers want to reduce components and systems that are no longer necessary in modern-day automobiles. The dropping of AM radio in some 2024 Ford models aims to provide more space for other technological features.

Why do Government officials think it’s a bad idea?

Government officials believe AM radio is essential for emergencies, especially during natural disasters. AM radio provides a vast coverage area and is an important communication medium for those who do not have access to digital radio and other forms of communication. Apart from this, AM radio provides access to news and talk radio, which is crucial for many consumers who rely on their cars as their primary source of entertainment.

In the Detroit Free Press, Alex Siciliano, senior vice president for communication at the National Association of Broadcasters, states that industry leaders are keeping an eye out for the change:

“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,” Siciliano told the Free Press before citing that almost 38 million Americans listen to AM radio, suggesting that Ford would not want to alienate such a large audience of consumers.

Automakers that have vowed to continue including AM radio

Despite Ford’s decision, other major automakers such as General Motors, Toyota, Kia, and Hyundai have announced their commitment to continue including AM radio in their future models. This is a clear indication that AM radio is still relevant and necessary.

Here’s why Tesla and other EVs don’t include AM radio

Many electric cars, such as Tesla EVs, do not have AM radio because they operate differently from traditional gas-powered vehicles. AM radio uses radio wave frequencies that can interfere with the electromagnetic fields found in electric cars, leading to unpleasant noises and static. To avoid this, some electric vehicle manufacturers have excluded AM radio from their infotainment systems altogether.

Ford is ditching AM radio in 2024

Ford’s decision to drop AM radio from part of its 2024 model lineup is a significant move. However, other automakers have shown that AM radio remains relevant and necessary for many drivers. Despite Ford’s plan, it’s clear that AM radio is here to stay and provide news and emergency alerts for drivers.

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