How much longer will new vehicles come with AM/FM radios?

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

However, lately, there has been a siege of the dependable car radio. The first was Telsa, which refused to include AM radios in its vehicles because the electromagnetic fields generated by car motors could make reception of AM signals difficult, if not impossible. Other EV makers have followed suit with some (but not all) of their models. That includes Ford, which dropped AM from its 2023 electric F-150 Lightning, even though it was standard equipment on the 2022 version. Strange.

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now though, Ford is taking things even further. Its next Mustang — the internal combustion variant — will no longer have AM radio as of the 2024 model year. In fact, AM will soon disappear All Ford model.


Mazda, Volvo, Polestar, Rivian and Volkswagen all think the time is right to dump AM radio. This will not sit well with drivers who rely on AM stations that deliver news, traffic and sports, especially play-by-play. AM is on the way To be the new shortwave. (However, this will not go quietly. The National Association of Broadcasters in the US has launched a campaign to defend AM,

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It’s part of a worldwide trend to modernize what auto manufacturers allow into their dashboards, something that goes beyond just AM radio. Way Ahead.

Most of the revenue for automobile dealers does not come from the sale of new vehicles. The real money comes from providing service and repairs.

In contrast, EVs, in general, do not require regular maintenance as gas-powered vehicles. EVs have fewer moving parts. They don’t need oil changes, spark plugs, air filters, fuel pumps, water pumps, and exhaust systems. They do not have a complex multi-speed transmission. There are fewer components to wear and tear. Without this service requirement, manufacturers and dealers are slowly and inevitably losing a revenue stream to which they have been accustomed for over a hundred years.

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Something is needed to change this. And that’s some subscriptions.

Vehicles are turning into computers on wheels, run by millions of lines of code. And thanks to cellular technology, cars are becoming increasingly connected to distant servers.

Tesla owners have become accustomed to dealing with software updates that can update, enhance or change various functions of the vehicle. You may have already heard about BMW’s move to charge Membership fee for heated seats, Ford has a patent that will allow the company to turn off your ac If you miss the payment.

So what does this have to do with AM/FM radio? A lot, as it turns out.

After giving way to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in infotainment systems, manufacturers want to take back control and go back to the days of providing proprietary infotainment solutions, systems over which they would have complete control. Want an exclusive entertainment option for your commute? You won’t go to the App Store. You will contact the manufacturer of your vehicle who will then perform a software update on your car. For an ongoing fee, of course.

The GM is all over it. Just as Apple plans to offer even more integration with cars, GM announced that it would reject the “Phone Projection” interface in favor of its own system based on Google technology and software. Will be inextricably linked with Vehicle Systems, a partnership that began in 2009. 2019.

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The company is making headway, though every consumer survey I’ve seen shows CarPlay is far more popular than Google’s Android Auto. The first vehicle to rule out any phone integration will apparently be the 2024 Blazer EV. CarPlay and the current Android Auto offerings will still have limited Bluetooth connectivity, meaning users will be limited to streaming music from their phone to the car. No more bespoke displays when you plug in your device.

More models will follow. In fact, the company thinks it could generate up to US$25 billion in revenue by 2030.

Supporters of this change point to satellite radio. Over the past quarter-century, drivers have shown they’ll pay for this type of radio. And let’s not forget that SiriusXM pays manufacturers for its space in the dashboard. If that’s the case, it’s not a huge leap for automakers to move to a situation where they charge a subscription fee for other radio tuner software – say RadioPlayer Canada or TuneIn – that provides access to terrestrial radio. . This may mean that we have to pay for AM and FM.

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Yes. No more free audio entertainment from your car via the good ol’ AM or FM radio in the dashboard. The only antenna near the vehicle will be something that receives a 5G (and beyond) signal to stream the data directly to the dashboard.

That scenario is still a few years away. Some of those manufacturers, Stellantis and Hyundai, have said they are going to have AM radios in their vehicles for the foreseeable future. Others, such as Volvo, are taking Ford’s side. If that wasn’t enough, we’re also hearing more about European automakers that may not include any of the old-school radios.

The car has been terrestrial radio’s most important environment for decades. That could change sooner than we might think. And it’s going to cost us dearly.


allen cross Q107 is the broadcaster of 102.1 The Edge and is a commentator for Granthshala News.

Subscribe now to Alan’s Ongoing History of Music podcast apple podcast Or Google Play

How much longer will new vehicles come with AM/FM radios?

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