The broadcast industry was abuzz yesterday following Ford Motor Company’s announcement that it will keep AM radio as a feature in its newer model cars. It’s welcome news for AM advocates who have been fighting for the preservation of the senior band in recent months.
That fight, however, is not over. Lawmakers continue to push for legislation that would protect AM in all vehicles, and radio broadcasters are keeping the pressure on other automakers to follow Ford’s lead.
Ford CEO Jim Farley made the announcement via social media Tuesday morning:
“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 Farley. “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. Thanks to our product development and manufacturing teams for their quick response to make this change for our customers.”
In the hours that followed, numerous people on LinkedIn commented on Farley’s post, expressing their support — or their indifference — and other thoughts on the matter:
David Greenberg, founder of The Empowered Franchisee, wrote: “Love this Jim! It’s great to see Ford prioritizing safety and recognizing the importance of AM broadcast radio in emergency situations. Kudos to your product development and manufacturing teams for their swift action. How will customers be notified about the availability of the software update for their Ford EVs?”
Joshua Giampa, a cloud infrastructure architect at Amazon Web Services commented: “I have been driving for nearly 20 years. I don’t think I have ever intentionally listened to AM radio. Even FM, for the last decade, is only used if I happen to be in an old car that hasn’t swapped the radio. If there’s still people broadcasting, then cars might as well receive it, but I doubt most people even noticed it wasn’t there.”
Gary Drypen, owner of Inland Seas Executive Consulting, wondered: “Why is shielding EV RF emissions which interfere with AM radio reception a problem? Is it a technical issue (it can’t be done) or is it cost driven (EV manufacturers don’t want to do it)? How far from the EV does AM radio interference extend? Will EVs disrupt AM radio reception in proximate vehicles on the road? Is enclosing the offending components within a Faraday cage untenable?”
An AM station also expressed its gratitude at Ford’s decision.
WJR(AM) in Detroit, Mich., said: “Thank you from the 50,000 watt Great Voice of the Great Lakes!”
Radio World also received a flurry of comments via email following yesterday’s news:
Jonathon Yinger, president/CEO of The Christian Broadcasting System and Broadcast Properties LLC, said: “Man … Ford … They never took AM out of the cars. Funny, right? Is there any way to get a revision on this bill to include some of those AM revitalization proposals that the commission had suggested, back in the day? Can someone pass this idea on to the NAB?”
Lawrence Cohen in Utica, N.Y., wrote: “My wife and I just returned from a lifelong wish trip to Yellowstone National Park. We rented a 2023 Ford Edge out of Bozeman airport in Montana. Ford should think more about their junk plastic-on-wheels cars than all the bells and whistles that are just absurd, viz, ‘check your back seat before leaving.’ Ford must think every American has no brains. It should pay more attention to their cars — junk and expensive junk at that.”
Veteran engineer and RW contributor Mark Durenberger in Minneapolis commented: “Part of this issue is owned by high-power stations like our own WCCO: using a DCC system to save on the electric bill. Result: more modulated noise in the noisy areas. No one has said much about that.”
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