Carmakers Ditch AM Radio; Lawmakers Fight to Keep It
Carmakers are pressing ‘next’ on AM radios — pushing them towards the technological graveyard.
Tesla, Volkswagen and at least six others are removing AM radios from electric vehicles — whose engines can impact the sound of AM stations.
Ford is taking it a step further by removing it from all its vehicles — affecting the 4,185 AM stations in the US and 82M Americans listening each month.
Long time coming: The rise in streaming has led to corporate consolidation and cost cuts among radio stations.
- Radio station revenue has been declining for the past decade — as ad spending moved toward streaming and social platforms.
- Between 2008 and 2021, the percentage of people who listen to podcasts grew from 9% to 41%.
Major radio station operators like iHeartMedia (NASDAQ:IHRT) and SiriusXM (NASDAQ:SIRI), which acquired Stitcher in 2020 for $325M, have doubled down on podcasts in recent years.
Lawmakers press pause on those plans
In response, bipartisan lawmakers introduced a bill last week that would require manufacturers to include AM radio in new cars.
- Senator Edward Markey argues that “AM radio is irreplaceable” — providing a source for emergency information even when the internet or phone signals are down.
- Ford Motors told the Senate that consumers have “many additional options to receive the same or similar information”— and that only 5% of in-car listening is on AM stations.
The WP said that many AM stations don’t have alternative channels to reach their audience — while the older AM audience isn’t as adept at using streaming. Writers getting ready to update their “things only 90s kids would understand” lists.