Ford CEO Jim Farley detailed the automaker’s backtracking on AM radio, which it did not include with some vehicles, after discussions with U.S. policymakers which seemed to change the mind of the head of the Blue Oval.
U.S. Lawmakers introduced legislation called the “AM for Every Vehicle” Act, which aimed to make AM broadcast radio required within vehicles. AM radio is commonly used for emergency broadcasts and communications from the government to citizens, but several car companies have phased out its inclusion.
Farley said in a Tweet earlier today that Ford and Lincoln vehicles manufactured for the 2024 model year will have AM radio included after discussions with policy leaders. The talks highlighted the importance of AM radio being included on vehicles as it is a crucial tool the U.S. uses to transmit emergency messages to the public.
Ford initially planned to get rid of AM radio, but lawmakers were adamant that it needed to remain in vehicles for public safety reasons.
Ford would continue to offer “alternatives” to AM radio, giving owners options to listen to their favorite music, news, and podcasts, a spokesperson said.
“This is a big issue because we can’t allow companies like Tesla and Ford to exploit consumers who have been relying on AM radio for a hundred years when other automakers are still providing it for free,” Senator Ed Markey said.
Tesla also phased out AM radio, explaining in a letter to Markey that it can interfere with the electric drivetrain design.
Markey was unconvinced. “Technologically, it costs almost nothing to be able to figure out the interference issues. So this is gonna be a big battle,” he said.
Ford seems to understand the importance of AM radio and its ability to alert the public of major emergencies. Phasing it back in is as simple as a software update for vehicles that are lacking the capability currently.
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