AM FM Radios Are Disappearing From Cars!


In what has to be a world first, Kurt Hanson's Radio & Internet News has reported that a new GM car has just been released in the US which features a dash screen with Pandora, apps, disc player and a USB port but NO AM FM radio.

You read correctly NO AM FM radio.

In actual fact the AM FM radio has been relegated to the second screen but its awkward to get to and takes the ‘back seat‘ to other audio options.

It’s hard to locate the radio and there is no actual physical radio buttons surrounding the screen.

The writer, Steve Goldstein from Sage Communications did point out that there was nothing intuitive about the screen, it was hard to use and he doubted whether his parents, his wife or even his tech-savvy kids would be able to operate it. The buttons are small and the menu complicated, so it seems it’s more promotion for GM’s partners rather than what the driver actually wants.

The customisation of the GM car screen is complex and is asking an awful lot of the average driver. Think about it, just switching from station to station whilst driving, navigating traffic and directions is enough already let alone having to negotiate apps and create playlists on the go!

Given the recent US Jacobs tech survey revealed that 98% of new car buyers want AM FM radios (versus 61% wanting a CD player and  25% wanting a connected car) this is more likely a move to satisfy GM’s partners and a very effective stunt to further push digital media platforms in general. Another study earlier this year revealed that 86% are of people use AM FM radios in cars.

Maybe that’s just a case of, you can’t research the future, respondents will only be able to judge what they already know and use.

The push by Pandora and other digital platforms is not entirely dissimilar to when Austereo’s founder Paul Thompson, in the 80s had the foresight to lobby Australian car makers to include FM radios in their cars, which of course they subsequently did. The rest is history.

But it does raise the question when will AM FM radios disappear altogether from cars? Ten years from now, maybe more. What do you think?

Comment Form

Your email address will not be published.

Recent comments (2)
Post new comment
24 Jul 2020 - 3:11 pm

What about the speed to change radio station?…I reckon the most sophisticated internet-BASED “FM”-system (today 2020) does not have the speed to jump from one station to another. Classic button Hz based AM-FM is still alive…What do you think?

Christopher O'Reilly
20 Nov 2023 - 10:15 pm

I don’t know if anyone realised but even AM radio hasn’t stood still in its evolution, DSP technology implementing plain analog on both transmitter and receiver end has come a long way, even so far as DSP chips designed to deliver near FM quality AM stereo. Technology is there to implement the best of analog radio and never before at such a low cost, but where are the receivers implementing this technology? Are they being fully utilised or crippled by coders adhering to industry agenda’s?


See all