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Ford Will Keep AM Radio in 2024 Models

The automaker reverses course after deep criticisms from the broadcast industry and lawmakers

Ford Motor Company has reconsidered removing AM radio from future vehicles in the U.S. and will now include the technology in its newer model cars.

“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,” said Ford CEO Jim Farley in a post on social media. “For any owners of Ford EVs without AM broadcast capability, we’ll offer a software update.”

“Thanks to our product development and manufacturing teams for their quick response to make this change for our customers.”

Sen. Ed Markey welcomed the news on Tuesday, but said he will continue to push for a federal mandate. The Massachusetts senator has been a champion for AM in recent months — one of the first lawmakers to press automakers to keep the service.

“Ford’s reversal reflects an overdue realization about the importance of AM radio, but too many automakers are still going the wrong direction,” said Markey in a statement. “Congress must pass my AM for Every Vehicle Act to maintain access to AM radio for years to come.”

Introduced into Congress last week, the “AM for Every Vehicle Act” would give the government power to mandate that automakers maintain AM service in their future car models. If adopted, the act would direct the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to implement new rules requiring car manufacturers to keep the service without any additional charges.

“Innovation in the automotive industry should mean more features, not fewer, for consumers,” said Markey.

The act, which has the support of FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, would also direct the Government Accountability Office to study whether alternative communications systems could fully replicate the reach and effectiveness of broadcast radio for emergency alerting. Carmakers, who have already slammed the mandatory AM bill, contend there are various methods to deliver emergency alerts to the public.

[Related: “5 Ways to Turn AM Radio Around“]

The National Association of Broadcasters was also quick to praise Ford’s decision to reverse course, and urged other carmakers 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,” said NAB President and CEO Curtis LeGeyt in a statement.

“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,” said LeGeyt.

On May 15, 102 members of the U.S. House of Representatives — from both political parties — signed a letter led by Reps. Bob Latta and Greg Pence asking car companies to retain AM radio as a service.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

[Read more stories about the future of AM radio in cars]