The Sound Of Silence May Be The Future Of AM Radio

Posted by

Did you know that many electric vehicles no longer have AM radio?

I did not, but it is true.
Automakers have removed AM radios from their electric vehicles (EVs) due to interference caused by electric motors.
While automakers argue that customers are moving away from radio and television for news and information, this has raised real concerns among government officials that people may miss important safety alerts during natural disasters and other emergencies.

This isn’t just about AM radio, it’s a problem as technology fragments audiences.

While government is calling on car companies to maintain free access to broadcast radio as a public safety measure, Tesla, Ford, BMW, Volvo and more (almost half of the 20 automakers surveyed) have already removed AM radio from their EVs.
Here’s a staggering stat: Terrestrial radio (FM and AM) reaches over 90% of the U.S. population, according to Nielsen.
Almost 50 million people listen to AM radio in the United States.

Is anybody listening?

How do you listen to audio in your car?
Where do you go in case of emergency for news and information?
It seems like the options (for many, but not all) for in-car audio is expanding.
Most consumers use streaming services and bluetooth connections to their smartphone for access content.
Critics have, rightfully, argue that these options are not as reliable as AM technology, and that people should always have free access to emergency information and news.
Other critics, rightfully, argue that governments need to introduce new technology that is just as reliable and accessible as AM radio.

Here are some other questions to ponder during your next road trip:

What is the role and responsibility of AM and FM radio to the audience?
If AM radio no longer exists, how do consumers access news and information safely and free?
Are demographics and consumer behavior shifts relevant to this conversation, or should it be a conversation about servicing every citizen equally?
Is it the responsibility of automakers to balance this need for public safety with their commercial needs to satiate the consumer?
Do we think that AM radio is an essential safety feature for cars, and should it be regulated?
Who should be held accountable for decisions that impact public safety? Government? Media companies? Automobile manufacturers?

What is the balance between convenience, safety and consumer habits?

This is what Elias Makos and I discussed on CJAD 800 AM for his In Transit segment this week.
Listen in right here.