Ford to Keep AM Radio in New Vehicles Amid Pressure from Lawmakers, Broadcasters
More than 80 million people in the U.S. listen to AM radio every month, and U.S. officials say it provides critical emergency information to Americans.
Ford said Tuesday that it will reverse course and keep AM radio in new vehicles after getting static from broadcasters and pressure from a bipartisan group of lawmakers who introduced legislation that would require the service.
The automaker's CEO, Jim Farley, announced the about-face on Twitter, saying the decision came "after speaking with policy leaders about the importance of AM broadcast radio" to access 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," he said in a tweet.
"Thanks to our product development and manufacturing teams for their quick response to make this change for our customers," Farley said.
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Ford, one the Big Three automakers in the U.S., said this spring that it would discontinue installing AM radio.
Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) led a group of bipartisan lawmakers, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who introduced a measure last week that would require carmakers to include AM radio, saying it provided critical emergency information to Americans.
Markey applauded Farley's decision "for tuning into the concerns of millions of listeners, thousands of broadcasters and countless management officials who have called for automakers to keep AM radio in their vehicles" in a statement Tuesday.
The National Association of Broadcasters also praised Ford's reversal, saying it will keep "Americans safe and informed."
"With tens of millions of listeners, AM radio continues to serve as a vital lifeline to the public and a critical source of community news and exchange of diverse ideas," NAB President Curtis LeGyt said in a statement on Twitter.
The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, which represents automakers, said "mandating AM radios in all vehicles is unnecessary."
"Whether or not AM radio is physically installed in vehicles has *no bearing* on the ability of drivers to receive emergency alerts across multiple modes of communication available in automobiles manufactured today," the trade group said, pointing out that safety warnings can be sent via FM, internet-based and satellite radios, as well as cellular networks.
BMW, Volkswagen, Mazda, Volvo, Tesla and other automakers have already removed AM radio from their vehicles or are in the process of doing so.
More than 80 million people in the U.S. listen to AM radio every month, according to NAB and Nielsen data.
With the Associated Press.
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