AM and FM radio is being removed from new models of car manufacturers including Ford, BMW, and Tesla.
According to The Washington Post, car companies’ move to restrict access to the audio feature was motivated by the medium’s declining consumer base as well as a problem with electric engines that interferes with its signal.
Ford announced that it will expand its phasing out to both future electric and gas-powered models, whereas BMW, Mazda, Polestar, Rivian, Tesla, Volkswagen, and Volvo have already done so from their electric vehicles.
Nissan, Toyota, and Honda, however, have resisted the forced removal of the frequency even though a group of bipartisan US politicians have created a bill to prevent carmakers from doing so.
The bill would direct the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to issue regulations to mandate AM radio in new vehicles without additional charge, reports Reuters.
Democratic Senator Edward Markey, one of the sponsors of the bill, said: “Carmakers shouldn’t tune out AM radio in new vehicles or put it behind a costly digital paywall.”
The legislators contend that it jeopardises a federal system for informing the public of important public safety information.
The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a trade group representing major automakers, added: “Mandating AM radios in all vehicles is unnecessary. Congress has never mandated radio features in vehicles ever before. Automakers remain 100 percent committed to ensuring drivers have access to public alerts and safety warnings.”
Ford’s recent decision was backed by company data that stated AM radio accounted for less than 5 per cent of in-car listening.
However, according to the National Association of Broadcasters, 82 million Americans tune in to AM stations each month.
According to RadioToday, recent data from the UK revealed that the percentage of people who listen to AM/FM has actually climbed significantly, from 34.2% to 35.6%.