The imminent threat by automakers to stop putting AM radios in new vehicles seems to have subsided for the moment, but the situation bears watching as bad ideas seem to have a way of resurfacing. 

Some electric vehicle manufacturers removed AM radios from certain models, citing electromagnetic interference as the problem. Ford planned to go even further by ditching AM radio in all new vehicles. However, after a groundswell of opposition, the Detroit automaker reversed course. 

“We’ve decided to include it on all 2024 Ford and Lincoln vehicles,” Ford CEO Jim Farley wrote in social media postings. That statement raises red flags for me since he specifically mentions “all 2024” models and not all models for the foreseeable future.

It’s easy for executives living in cities to ignore the value of AM radio. But in rural areas, AM radio remains a valuable source of information and entertainment. 

When I was a teenager, we had an old, rusted-out 3/4-ton Ford pickup that only had an AM radio. 

Even though listening options were limited, it sure beat having no radio at all. I spent a lot of hours in the truck, mostly listening to farm news and country music classics. Anytime my brother or I tried to tune in to a pop or rock music station, Dad quickly objected. Occasionally, we could agree on a baseball or basketball broadcast covering our favorite teams.

Even with the plethora of listening options available today, I still find myself scanning the dial when I’m driving across the state to pick up a local radio station, often on the AM dial. I hope that option continues to be available for my next vehicle purchase, but I won’t be surprised the next time automakers try to strip the feature again.