In the modern age of streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, radio is often seen as a dying medium. In fact, so many view the listening method as outdated that many car manufacturers are deciding to leave AM radio out of their new models. Ford is among the list of car companies that just announced to be completely AM radio free in all new makes as of 2024.
While it is not as common, radio is still used by many, especially in rural areas.
AM radio often finds itself to be useful in emergency situations when internet and phone lines are down in order to broadcast news, weather patterns, and emergency notifications. Some people also just prefer listening to old-school radio stations. In either case, some people are starting to speak out against the removal of AM radio. Pennsylvania state legislative aide, Shelly Butler, spoke of her surprise at this announcement. She seemed especially shocked at the news coming from Ford given the company’s popularity in the more rural areas. She expressed her thoughts stating, “I don’t think they are looking out for rural America and they’re giving an opinion that they don’t matter anymore.”
Since 2018, we have been seeing AM radios cut out of cars, primarily electric ones such as Tesla. For vehicles with electric motors, AM radios can cause electromagnetic interference and hence negatively affect the motor’s functionality.
Given the negative response from rural areas, Ford released a statement. Their spokesperson Whitney Pineda first acknowledged the fact that many AM radio stations are themselves becoming more digital. Many AM stations are transitioning to FM radio or streaming services. “Ford will continue to offer these alternatives for customers to hear their favorite AM radio music, news, and podcasts as this transition continues,” announced Pineda.
Locals spoke up on the issue as well, with mixed responses. Used car dealership owner, Brandon West, said he feels indifferent to the decision. He himself uses streaming services in his car and said he has noticed very few cars come in to be sold that are tuned in to an AM station. Another business owner, this time of an AM station, David Lent, said he has already been very aware of the lack of listenership to AM radio.
“I just don’t know who’s listening anymore,” Lent said. “Young business owners don’t know what it is, and certainly don’t want it.”
Overall, the reaction has been very mixed to this announcement. Some do not mind at all, some understand the need to transition in the digital age, some begrudgingly are accepting, and others are just downright bothered.