Will AM/FM radios soon be extinct in vehicles? Maybe. Here’s why.

[This was my weekly column for GlobalNews.ca – AC]

Ever since the Galvin brothers introduced the first car radio — the Motorola — back in 1930, we’ve enjoyed all sorts of audio while behind the wheel. For decades, the radio was our main source of entertainment and information while we travelled from point A to point B.

Lately, though, the trusty car radio has been under siege. First up was Telsa, which refused to include AM radio in its vehicles because the electromagnetic fields generated by the car’s motors can make the reception of AM singles difficult if not impossible. Other EV manufacturers have followed suit with some (but not all) of their models. This includes Ford, which dropped AM from its 2023 electric F-150 Lightning even though it was standard equipment in the 2022 version. Odd.

Now, though, Ford is taking things even further. Its next Mustang — the internal combustion kind — will no longer have an AM radio as of the 2024 model year. In fact, AM will soon disappear from all Ford models.

Mazda, Volvo, Polestar, Rivian, and Volkswagen all think that the time is right to dump AM radio. That won’t sit well with drivers who depend on AM stations that deliver news, traffic, and sports, especially play-by-play. AM is on its way to becoming the new shortwave. (It will not go quietly, though. The National Association of Broadcasters in the U.S. has launched a campaign defending AM.)

This is part of a worldwide trend to modernize what auto manufacturers allow in their dashboards, something that goes beyond just AM radio. Way beyond.

Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

2 thoughts on “Will AM/FM radios soon be extinct in vehicles? Maybe. Here’s why.

  • April 11, 2023 at 7:49 pm

    What is the uptake like for HD radio these days? Is it a short-term replacement for AM radio (many AM stations also broadcast on sub-channels of FM signals.)


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