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Ford CEO Announces Major Decision on AM Radio

Owners of new Ford vehicles will continue having access to AM radio, reversing a previous decision by the company, CEO Jim Farley announced Tuesday.

"We've decided to include it on all 2024 Ford and Lincoln vehicles," Farley said on Twitter and LinkedIn. "For any owners of Ford's EVs without AM broadcast capability, we'll offer a software update.”

The decision comes after policymakers emphasized the importance of AM radio during emergencies, Farley said. 

"Customers can currently listen to AM radio content in a variety of ways in our vehicles -- including via streaming -- and we will continue to innovate to deliver even better in-vehicle entertainment and emergency notifications options in the future,” he added. “Thanks to our product development and manufacturing teams for their quick response to make this change for our customers."

Farley's update comes after a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced the “AM for Every Vehicle Act,” which calls on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to establish a rule requiring auto manufacturers to keep AM radio in new vehicles at no additional cost. 

“Carmakers shouldn’t tune out AM radio in new vehicles or put it behind a costly digital paywall,” said Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA), who co-sponsored the bill. The legislation aims to “ensure that this resilient and popular communication tool does not become a relic of the past,” he added. 

Sen. Ted Cruz, meanwhile, emphasized AM's radio's importance in keeping Americans informed and engaged in the national political dialogue. 

“Each day, millions of Americans turn to AM radio to stay up to date on life in their community, engage on the issues they care about, or to be simply entertained during rush hour,” said the Texas Republican, who, along with Markey, is leading the bipartisan group of lawmakers to support the bill. “AM radio is a critical bulwark for democracy, providing a platform for alternative viewpoints and the ability for elected officials to share our efforts with our constituents.” 

Cruz was hopeful that other automakers follow the same path. 

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