Car manufacturers including Ford, BMW, Tesla have removed AM and FM radio from their newest car models.
The decision to eliminate access to the audio feature by car companies was influenced by the medium’s shrinking consumer base as well as a quirk with electric engines that disrupts its signal, according to The Washington Post.
BMW, Mazda, Polestar, Rivian, Tesla, Volkswagen, and Volvo have already removed the audio feature from their electric vehicles, while Ford has announced that it will extend its phasing out to both future electric and gas-powered models.
But Nissan, Toyota, and Honda have stood firm against the frequency’s forced removal while a collection of bi-partisan lawmakers in the US have drafted a bill to block 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 lawmakers argue that it undermines a federal system for delivering key public safety information to the public.
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.
But the National Association of Broadcasters estimated 82 million people in the US listen to AM stations each month.
In the UK, recent figures also showed that listening via AM/FM has actually increased slightly from 34.2 per cent to 35.6 per cent, according to RadioToday.