NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — As we previously reported, the Ford Motor Company had announced they would be removing AM radio from most of their 2024 vehicles. There was a swift reaction, and today is bringing a big change to the plan.
At the station, now in its ninth decade, Scott Walker leads WGNS radio in Murfreesboro.
"We were Rutherford County's first radio station," Walker said.
WGNS mostly has a specific focus on this community, its sports, and its people. One day, national news hit WGNS directly. The Ford Motor Company had announced they would not have AM radio in most of their new 2024 models, both electric and gas-powered vehicles.
AM Radio has been around for about a hundred years. There are currently more than 6,000 AM radio stations across the country.
Several companies like Tesla had already removed AM from their electric vehicles, many saying the electric vehicle design can interfere with the radio signal. Scott said Ford not carrying AM was just of particular concern.
"Ford is one of those brands that's just as American as baseball," Scott said.
Ford's initial decision got a lot of people talking, including former FEMA officials who publicly stated that AM radio plays a big role in things like emergency weather warnings for areas that may not have strong cell and internet connections.
"No matter how rural of an area we live in within Rutherford County, they're able to hear us," Scott said.
Now, Ford has just changed course on AM radio, saying in a statement;
“After speaking with policy leaders about the importance of AM broadcast radio as a part of the emergency alert system, we've decided to include it on all 2024 Ford & Lincoln vehicles. For any owners of Ford EVs without AM broadcast capability, we’ll offer a software update. 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. Thanks to our product development and manufacturing teams for their quick response to make this change for our customers.”
"I think it was a relief to a lot of broadcasters, really, around the country," Scott said. "Radio, it's been here for 100 years, in general, reaches 92% of the population of America. It's a great way of communicating with folks what's happening locally and what's to come."