Ford backs off on plan to cut AM radio from vehicles amid outcry
"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] & [Lincoln] vehicles," wrote CEO Jim Farley on Twitter.
The Ford Motor Company on Tuesday announced that it would not eliminate AM radio from nearly all of its new vehicles amid considerable pushback from lawmakers and consumers.
"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] & [Lincoln] vehicles," wrote CEO Jim Farley on Twitter. "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," he continued. "Thanks to our product development and manufacturing teams for their quick response to make this change for our customers."
The company had not originally planned to include AM radio in most of its new vehicles and had cited research indicating that less than 5% of in-car listening came from AM stations. The decision generated significant backlash from right-leaning pundits and lawmakers.
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle noted that AM radio is a key component in the U.S. Emergency Alert System, with Wisconsin GOP Rep. Mike Gallagher and New Jersey Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer urging Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell to assert the importance of maintaining AM radio in vehicles. Talk radio host John Catsimatidis and former Vice President Mike Pence also teamed up to create a public service announcement in support of AM radio.
After the announcement, the National Association of Broadcasters commended Ford for "committing to keep AM radio in their vehicles, which will keep Americans safe and informed, particularly in times of emergency."
The trade group further called on other motor companies to follow suit.
"In light of Ford’s announcement, NAB urges other automakers who have removed AM radio from their vehicles to follow Ford’s lead and restore this technology in the interest of listeners and public safety," it added.
Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.