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Michigan Lawmakers Press Ford to Keep AM

In a letter, they also emphasize the automaker's strong presence in the state

Eight lawmakers in the state of Michigan are imploring Ford Motor Company to reverse course and keep AM broadcast radio in its new vehicles.

The letter from the state representatives, which was addressed to the company’s board of directors, expresses concern about Ford’s decision to remove AM capability from future vehicles. They said the decision to do so could jeopardize the safety and livelihood of millions of Ford’s customers.

“Not only is AM still widely listened to for entertainment purposes, especially in rural areas, but it is vitally important for emergency services in times of trouble or natural disaster,” the state representatives wrote.

The letter, which is dated April 27, 2023, begins with a compliment noting the legacy of Henry Ford and Ford Motor Company in Michigan. “Mr. Ford and his descendants have put food on the table for millions of families in this state for over a century now, and revolutionized modern industry forever,” the letter states. Ford is headquartered in Dearborn, Mich. 

The state lawmakers, organized by northern Michigan House Rep. Neil Friske, refer to research that shows nearly 38 million Americans regularly listen to AM radio. “That is 38 million potential customers you are now potentially alienating, and it is in the best interest of both the Ford Motor Company and the state of Michigan that Ford continues to sell as many products as possible.”

In the letter, Rep. Friske questions why the decision to drop AM from new cars beginning with 2024 models was made. “If AM goes, will FM be next? Will our constituents then be forced to turn strictly to massive media companies (e.g. Spotify, iTunes, Google etc.) for entertainment during their drives?” 

Jordan Epperson, legislative director for Rep. Friske, told Radio World that, so far, Ford has not responded to their queries. 

The Michigan lawmakers join others, including former Vice President Mike Pence, in actively trying to persuade Ford to reconsider dropping AM radio. A congressman from New Jersey even wants the government to mandate that AM radio be included in all new vehicles by adding it to the list of safety equipment required by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The automaker announced in March it was eliminating AM radio capability in its new, gas-powered and electric 2024 models.    

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