Ford's putting back AM radio in vehicles, including EVs

I have, but it was the early 90s.

Apologies, didn’t mean to ‘splain to you there.

I’m with you on rent-seeking and crippleware hardware. Vehemently opposed to it, and quite annoyed to see carmakers starting to get into it, like we’ve seen with subscription speed limiters on new Mercedes and such. A very bad trend.

I think in this case Ford was genuinely trying to simplify their software stack by removing a feature nobody used, but the optics on it weren’t great, I agree. It would have been better for all if they’d just said, “sorry, we can’t add that back in”.


And then plug the 3.5mm end into the aux out on my portable AM radio. All problems solved!

I think I might be able to ditch some of my VHS head cleaners this way, too!

The height of audio convenience! I miss my mp3 megamix CDs. I had to play them on a portable CD player, though, thus the cassette adapters.

You and me both.


No worries, didn’t take it that way. :slight_smile:

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I think that the elephant in the room is the antenna. My new car factory-installed radio has only FM and DAB reception and a tiny sleek antenna outside the size is 15 cm. My older car, with FM, LW and MW reception had a longer whip the size was 40 cm and was shaped like a whip with a coil wrapped.

It’s possible that a radio has all the components to receive MW and LW but because the antenna doesn’t match, it’s disabled by firmware, but enabling it with a short, unloaded antenna will cause a bad reception.

This is the most unsettling thing about the announcement.

AM radio isn’t just for right wing talk radio. It also is popular for Spanish language broadcasting and ideal for emergency broadcasting use. It likely costs them literally nothing to include.


Antenna size does matter for AM radio, but the majority of new cars that receive AM get by with very small antennas thanks to new designs.


Ford in reverse gear over AM radio removal after Congress threatens action


We asked Senator Markey’s office whether he’d heard from any of the other automakers he called out for removing AM radio, and its response didn’t address that or other questions we asked. We also contacted the automakers on the supposedly anti-AM train that Markey identified, and heard back from BMW, which told us it would make a decision if and when the bill is passed.

Conversely, of course, BMW and VW haven’t gotten rid of AM radios in their cars because of some plot against Christian talk radio

There’s also an EU directive that pushes DAB adoption on cars, and on the other hand in the last 15 years MW/LW transmitters in Europe were steadly switched off.

By the way now i could listen to Christian talk radion in DAB+ and also there’s a novaxxer radio available on DAB.

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Antenna engineering is part science and part dark arts. But the long and short of it (no pun intended) is RX is far more forgiving of bad antenna design than TX. The antenna design in modern cars is really clever.

I assume that this is now way behind the curve(both because of the date and because it used an ‘evolutionary algorithm’ rather than ‘AI’); but I’ve always been fond of the ST5 antenna in the RF-as-witchcraft category. Looks like a haphazardly abused paperclip; NASA supercomputer approved.

Fractal antennas are also pretty cool, though they have more of a mathematical look to them; rather than bearing the clear signs of having been tuned by the local lovecraftian lunatic for optimal sensitivity to non-hertzian eldrich whispers.



I seem to recall the inventor of the first fractal antenna did so because he was limited by the size of his living room. He bent the antenna into a roughly hexagonal shape, and found it to be effective across a wide range of frequencies. Later, after much optimization, he was able to calculate the most efficient antenna theoretically possible over a certain frequency range. However when he went to patent this design he was rejected as one cannot patent a scientific fact.

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