Michigan Lawmakers and Northern Michigan Broadcaster Join Efforts to Reverse Ford AM Radio Decision
May 5, 2023
Inside Radio reports that as part of the ongoing campaign to reverse Ford Motor Company's decision to remove AM radio from most new and updated models in 2024, eight House Representatives in Ford's home state of Michigan have sent a letter to its board of directors making a case for keeping the legacy band in cars.
“Not only is AM still widely listened to for entertainment purposes, especially in rural areas, but it is vitally important for emergency services in times of trouble or natural disaster,” the letter says. “Removing AM capability from future vehicles could jeopardize the safety and livelihood of millions of your customers.”
Michigan House Rep. David Prestin, one of those signing the letter, says that Ford's decision represents “a lack of vision [or] thought towards national security, our ability to communicate on the most basic level in the future for the unknown things that we have to face. I just find it reckless."
To that end, the reps' letter to Ford makes the point that “nearly 38 million Americans regularly listen to AM radio, and it is the backbone of the Emergency Alert System. That is 38 million potential customers you are now potentially alienating.”
Up in Traverse City, Midwestern Broadcasting General Manager Chris Warren told Up North Live, "In 80+ years, it's all about the community and connecting with the community and providing service to the community. And AM radio is one of the great ways that stations around the country can do that. Midwestern owns two AM stations in the northern Michigan community.
"I think it's short-sighted of the manufacturers to try to... pull out a component of the audio system that has been important for, you know, 100 years, 80 years," Warren said.
The Michigan House Reps' letter to Ford asks, “If AM goes, will FM be next? Will our constituents then be forced to turn strictly to massive media companies (e.g. Spotify, iTunes, Google etc.) for entertainment during their drives?”
Both Prestin and Warren understand the importance of both AM and FM in the state. “[It's] all about connecting with and providing service to the community," Warren says. "Consumers really are not aware of the phasing out that some of these manufacturers are looking to do. We hope that this legislative effort can reverse this trend." Adds Prestin, “There [are] several stations up in my neck of the woods that have an AM footprint only. There's a large segment of the population that relies on AM radio and will continue to.”