Previously, the manufacturer was on record saying that there is no compelling need to maintain the AM band in any of its upcoming models – a stance that other automakers have adopted with electric cars but not extended to all vehicles as a policy. This had made Ford a particular target amid growing debate over the growing movement to eliminate AM and new congressional legislation designed to mandate it on all new models.
Ford’s CEO, Jim Farley, announced the comeback in a social media statement.
“After speaking with policy leaders about the importance of AM broadcast radio as part of an emergency alert system, we have decided to include it in all 2024 vehicles,” Farley wrote. “We will provide a software update for all Ford EV owners without AM broadcast capability. Customers can now listen to AM radio content in our vehicles in a variety of ways – including streaming – and we will continue to innovate to provide even better in-car entertainment and emergency notification options in the future. Thank you to our product development and manufacturing teams for their quick response to make this change for our customers.”
Last Wednesday, a bipartisan group of senators and congressmen passed a bill called AM for Every Vehicle Act; If this law passed, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would require its authorization to be installed on new vehicles at no additional cost to the consumer. with warning stickers on all cars that get off before crossing with it.
At least eight automakers have removed AM from vehicles, but so far, with the exception of Ford, output has been mostly limited to electric vehicles, with electrical interference cited as the primary factor.
Ford spokesman Alan Hall told the Associated Press that the company has reserved the 2024 gasoline-powered Mustang as a non-EV vehicle that will debut without AM, but will now be added before the car is delivered. On two Ford EVs, the 2023 Mustang Mach-e and the F-150 Lightning, the software update needs to take care of making AM available.
This National Association of Publishers He applauded Ford’s return. President-CEO Curtis LeGeyt said, “NAB commends Ford for its commitment to having AM radios in their vehicles, especially in emergencies, in a way that keeps Americans safe and informed. With tens of millions of listeners, AM radio continues to serve as a vital lifeline for the public and an important source of community news and debate.
“In light of Ford’s announcement,” LeGeyt continued, “NAB is urging other automakers that have removed AM radio from their vehicles to follow Ford’s lead and reinstate this technology for listeners and public safety. NAB has a responsibility to keep AM radio in cars. “Thanks to the many advocates who pioneered, especially those who supported the Every Vehicle AM Radio Act. Broadcasters will continue to support this important piece of legislation to ensure consumer access to AM radio in all vehicles.”
Ford said that data collected from vehicles with web access shows that less than 5% of customers are listening to AM, but this does not clearly reflect the extent of listening in less advanced vehicles in listening options. The National Association of Broadcasters says its data shows more than 80 million people listen to AM each month in the United States.
Despite the outcry that broke out as the transition to eliminate AM began to gain attention, not everyone was convinced that going into the future was necessary. Among the more sarcastic Twitter responses to the announcement, Farley tweeted: “The world switched to cellular emergency notifications a while ago. Some would say over twenty years ago! And: “AM radio is basically just propaganda and baseball.”