Is it time to goodbye to AM radio in vehicles? Major automakers seem to think so! BMW, Volkswagen, Mazda, and Tesla have already started pulling the plug on AM radios in their new electric vehicles because it causes interference from electric engines. Ford is going a step further by removing AM radios from all of its vehicles, whether they run on electricity or gas.
AM stations, currently numbering 4,185, is facing a grim future as a result. Removing them from the dashboard might sound the death knell for these stations, which have long been an essential part of American culture, providing news, political talk, weather coverage, and foreign language programming.
But it’s not going away without a fight. The Washington Post reports:
In a last-ditch campaign to keep AM in cars, broadcasters are teaming up with conservative activists, first-responders and liberals who view AM as a vital source of diversity in media. Seven former Federal Emergency Management Agency leaders joined in a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg saying that removing AM radio from cars is “a grave threat to future local, state, and federal disaster response and relief efforts.”
Markey urged automakers to reverse their decisions, telling manufacturers that “in an emergency, drivers might not have access to the internet and could miss critical safety information.”
…AM stations are trying to enlist listeners to speak out against the change. Many Black-oriented stations are airing spots urging listeners to contact Congress: “For decades, our community has relied on AM radio to inform, entertain and empower,” one announcement says. “From the gospel music you grew up with to the Black voices and perspectives you depend on for your news …. we can’t afford to have our voice silenced.”