Ford Authority

Arkansas Broadcasters Applaud Ford AM Radio Pivot

Ford’s decision to nix AM radio functionality in the 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning and 2024 Ford Mustang – with plans to follow suit in most all of its models, save for commercial vehicles – was met with immense criticism, particularly from a group of lawmakers that expressed concerns that its removal might impact emergency broadcast situations and later introduced a bill aimed at forcing automakers to retain it. Despite the The Blue Oval’s claims that these fears are unwarranted, Ford ultimately opted to reverse course and include AM radio in all of its 2024 model year vehicles, a decision that is now drawing praise from a group of radio broadcasters, according to Arkansas Business.

“The decision by Ford and likely other manufacturers to keep AM radio was a significant advocacy win,” said Luke Story, president and CEO of the Arkansas Broadcasters Association. “The ABA, the approximately 4,700 AM radio stations across the U.S. and the 138 AM radio stations in Arkansas are all pleased” at Ford’s reversal, he added. At the same time, Story acknowledged that this fight isn’t over yet, noting that it’s “neither costly nor technically complex to achieve” including AM in all-electric vehicles, despite automakers’ claims to the contrary.

Ford has argued that AM radio is no longer needed as customers can listen to broadcasts on a variety of other formats, but Story and his peers disagree. AM radio has the ability to reach “across urban and rural areas regardless of internet access” and without paid subscriptions, he noted. “AM radio plays a vital role in serving minority, non-English-speaking and other underrepresented communities with free, in-language programming,” he said, in addition to its role in helping notify people of emergencies.

“AM radio serves as the backbone of the Emergency Alert System, which warns the public of pending danger, and is a critical source of information,” Story said. “When the power goes out and the internet goes down, radio remains the most resilient form of communication, especially in vehicles during power outages. There is no better proof of this than this March’s tornadoes. Many Arkansans were dependent on radio to receive information.”

We’ll have more on the future of AM radio soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for comprehensive Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. David Dickinson II

    Ford wants to control all the data that flows through “your” vehicle. Over The Air reception undermines that effort. With all the regulations the federal government slathers on automobiles, I hope they mandate AM radio for all vehicles sold in the USA.

    1. RWFA

      LoL. 3rd world tech for a 3rd world state.

  2. Dennis

    Bad move by Ford to even -think- about getting rid of the AM format, especially because they made that decision ASSUMING that all their customers could access radio information elsewhere. I agree with the sentiment asking how removing AM service would ever affect the price of a +-$50k car. Guaranteed customers would never see that decrease in the overall price of their new vehicle!

  3. Mike

    ARKANSAS? Of COURSE the ONLY state that still listens to AM LOL!!

  4. Westly

    I work in Emergency Management; it was a DUMB move to even think about getting rid of AM Radio. A low-power AM Radio Transmitter and antenna can be configured quickly and brought online with a wire antenna tossed up in a tree and can reach for several miles.

    1. RWFA

      If those pushing this topic were serious, they would let cars go off AM but require it be integrated into smartphones.

      Far more people have a smartphone than a car and it’s pretty hard to park your car in the living room if you need to listen to AM.

      1. Westly

        Please, stop talking. You clearly have no technically knowledge. Not only do I work in EM, but I am a 2-way radio tech, and a HAM Radio Operator. Now, in theory you COULD integrate an AM tuner into a smartphone, the loop antenna that is required could be built into the case, but, reception would be limited. I have seen FM Tuners built into cellphones before though, but you have to have headphones connected to it for it to work, because the headphones act as an antenna. Most ‘portable’ antennas are a compromise, and usually have what is called ‘negative gain’, meaning you’re loosing signal with that antenna. ‘Unity Gain’ antennas have no negative or positive gains on them, and are what you usually see on a lot of vehicles. “Positive Gain’ antennas actually pickup the signal better, but are usually quite large. I have a dual-band high gain 2-way antenna on my 2014 F150, if memory it has 7 dB gain on UHF Frequencies and around 3dB on VHF Frequencies.
        Bottom line is, what’s the big deal about including it? It costs what, maybe $5 more per vehicle to have it? Ford can afford it, if they get their heads out of their ‘4th point of contact’, and start making cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs that people want, and can AFFORD. Time to fire Farley.


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