We won't let these cars kill the AM radio star

Removing AM radio from cars would jeopardize emergency signals and harm 80 million listeners

Every month, more than 80 million Americans listen to AM radio. They rely on AM to provide them with news, especially local news, as well as safety alerts, talk radio, sports and music. Now, several major automakers want to take away this important resource in new cars going forward. That would be a serious mistake. 

Number one, AM radio stations serve a critical role in our Emergency Alert System. AM radio signals cover a much larger geographical area than FM radio signals or cell towers and continue to function during hurricanes, tornadoes, or other severe weather events, when other communications networks can be unreliable and stop working.  

So, getting rid of AM radio in cars means that some people may miss essential communications during an emergency, especially as 40% of radio listeners are tuning in from their cars. 


Number two, AM radio is a big platform for talk radio, which is a home for alternative viewpoints and diverse audiences. Ninety-seven percent of Hispanics listen to AM or FM radio every month, and AM radio is an important resource for the Black community as well—the National Association of Black-Owned Broadcasters supports keeping AM radio in cars.  

Microphone radio studio

Plans to remove AM radio from new cars would impact more than 80 million American listeners.  (iStock)

Number three, getting rid of AM radio in cars will impact rural and agricultural listeners on farms and ranches, especially those who lack access to broadband connectivity. 

There are a lot of places in the country where AM radio stations are some of the only choices people have to hear what’s going on in terms of agricultural matters, music, talk or news. 

This is why we’ve introduced the AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act of 2023, which is bipartisan legislation that would direct federal regulators to require automakers to keep AM radio in their new cars at no additional cost.  

If this bill passed, car manufacturers wouldn’t be able to remove the ability of customers to choose to listen to AM radio in their cars. 

We represent two very different sides of the political spectrum. If the two of us — a progressive and a conservative — can find common ground on this issue, it should highlight just how important we believe it is for Americans to have access to AM radio in cars, and just how important AM radio is to millions of Americans from different walks of life.  

Further, radio supports many jobs all over the country. In Texas, over 88,000 jobs are tied to radio and in Massachusetts, over 23,000 jobs are tied to radio. And in 2018, over 1 million American jobs were tied to local radio and $478 billion to the GDP.  

Ten other senators from both the left and right sides of the aisle have also joined our bill as cosponsors, and the House version has bipartisan support as well. 


Just four days after we released the AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act of 2023, the CEO of Ford Motor Company changed course and announced that Ford will include AM radio in their model year 2024 vehicles. And for those who bought a Ford electric vehicle without AM radio, Ford will offer a software update so those customers can have access to AM radio. 

There are a lot of places in the country where AM radio stations are some of the only choices people have to hear what’s going on in terms of agricultural matters, music, talk or news. 

This is tremendous news. We hope that Ford and other automakers will commit to keeping AM radio in all vehicles going forward so customers have choices. Electric vehicle manufacturers have argued that the electric vehicle battery or drivetrain can cause electromagnetic interference, which can lead to static and disrupt the signal.  

However, we have heard from some automakers that they have found solutions to protect the AM radio signal from interference through relatively simple applications, such as shielding cables or locating AM receivers further away from the components that cause interference. If some automakers have already identified ways to fix the problem, we’re certain others can too. 

placeholderCurrently, out of 20 automakers, seven have removed AM radio from their electric vehicles — BMW, Mazda, Polestar, Rivian, Tesla, Volkswagen and Volvo. We hope that all seven of these companies follow Ford’s example and restore AM radio in their new cars. 

We believe consumers should have more choices, not fewer. Our legislation would ensure that AM radio continues to be available for the millions of Americans who want to listen to it in their cars and trucks every day and who rely on it during emergencies.

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