You have to hand it to AM radio—it has outlasted the 8-track, the cassette, and the compact disc as a way to deliver audio content to a car. This first-generation radio broadcast technology dates back to the dawn of the last century before it was superseded by FM, which has better sound fidelity and is less likely to suffer from interference.
But good old amplitude modulation joins those shiny CDs and twisted tapes on the scrapheap of history, at least as far as the next Ford Mustang is concerned. When the 2024 Mustang goes on sale this summer, it will do so without an AM radio function, according to Ford Authority.
That will make it the second Ford to lose access to this antique broadcast option. After including it in the first model year 2022 F-150 Lightning electric pickup trucks, Ford dropped AM for MY2023 onward. Other electric vehicles have notably dropped AM radio—Tesla moved away from including it in new cars in 2018, as did BMW with its i3 city car, citing the potential for electromagnetic interference (EMI) from the EV powertrain. (AM radio is a feature on plenty of other EVs, so this explanation is unconvincing.)
These moves have not been universally well-received. Last year, both the former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and US Senator Ed Markey (D Mass.) called on automakers to preserve AM radio. While AM radio plays no role in many of our lives, some still use it to listen to sports or talk radio, and the government continues to rely on it for the National Public Warning System. Last year also saw the FCC commissioner reject calls to reassign AM radio’s spectrum.
Sen. Markey went further, asking BMW, Ford General Motors, Honda Motor, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Lucid, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Polestar, Rivian, Stellantis, Subaru, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen Group, and Volvo to explain whether they have dropped AM from any vehicles. He also wanted to know about any future plans to drop AM or FM, the reasons for dropping AM, any steps those companies have taken to shield AM radio receivers from EMI, and whether the companies offer any free digital broadcast radio in their cars.
Ford’s reasons for dropping AM radio from the next Mustang are unknown, although since the next Mustang is not electrified, the move can’t be due to EMI from an electric powertrain.