(The Hill) – Ford Motor Co. announced it is keeping AM radio available in their vehicles following pressure from lawmakers to keep it in their products.
CEO Jim Farley said Tuesday that he spoke to policymakers about keeping AM radio available as part of the emergency alert system and decided that it will be included in all 2024 Ford and Lincoln vehicles. He said Ford will also offer software updates to owners of its electric vehicles without AM broadcast capability.
“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,” Farley said.
His announcement comes after a bipartisan group of lawmakers, led by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), introduced legislation to require all new cars to include AM radio.
Reports indicated that several manufacturers like BMW, Volkswagen, Mazda and Tesla were phasing out AM radio in their vehicles because electric motors can interfere with the soundwaves for AM radio.
The legislation would direct the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to issue a rule requiring automakers keep AM radio in their vehicles without any additional payment, fee or surcharge required.
Markey praised Ford for its decision “tuning into the concerns of millions of listeners, thousands of broadcasters and countless emergency management officials.” He said AM radio is an essential safety feature and a free, accessible source for music, news, sports and entertainment.
“Innovation in the automotive industry should mean more features, not fewer, for consumers. Ford’s reversal reflects an overdue realization about the importance of AM radio, but too many automakers are still going the wrong direction,” he said in a release. “Congress must pass my AM for Every Vehicle Act to maintain access to AM radio for years to come.”
The release states that eight out of 20 major automakers that he wrote to responded that they did not plan to incorporate AM radio in their vehicles in the future.
Ford initially removed AM radio from the 2023 Mustang Mach-e and F-150 Lightning electric pickup trucks after data showed less than 5 percent of customers listened to it, according to a Ford spokesperson.
More than 80 million people in the U.S. listen to AM radio every month, according to the National Association of Broadcasters and Nielsen data.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.