BMW Owners Want Their AM Radio Back


And some are willing to hack AM radio’s back into their vehicles, a clear sign listeners want radio to remain front and center in the console. You may recall that BMW was the first auto company to ditch AM radio in its i3 electric vehicle. Well, that has apparently is causing problems with the owners of those vehicles.

The reason BMW dropped AM was interference from the electric drivetrain of the car blocking out the AM signal, making it fuzzy and choppy. According to BMWBlog those that own the vehicle have started blogs and gotten on forums to complain about AM radio missing and some have even tried to hack AM radio back into their cars.

The blog says, “due to AM radio’s loyal following, many automakers, BMW included, are looking for a way to reduce and eliminate the interference that comes from electric vehicles. If automakers can shield the wiring, and possibly even the electric motor, then the interference could stop.”

Picture courtesy BMWBlog


  1. I converted my 1965 Corvair Corsa Convertible to electric about 1982 and drove it about 15 years daily on the Denver streets. It only had an AM radio and although it was a bit noisy at times I listened to AM radio every day. What I wanted to hear was on AM radio…not FM. The streaming laws have made it impossible for me to stream my own AM radio station playing country classics and oldies from the 1940’s to the present. And since my stations are Class B there will likely not be any translator channels available when I am allowed to apply to move or get a new translator. Also my AM can be heard in a good car from New Mexico to Wyoming so there is NO possibility of putting it on FM over most of that area. The AM to FM translator rules will only allow coverage where my AM stations already have good coverage. The general background noise level as “deregulated” by the FCC is the biggest problem for my several million potential listeners. I work hard to make AM sound very good on every radio and my listeners know it. The national screechy processing formulas and the sterile sound of “perfect digital audio” designed for 15 minute listening times are causing more damage than you know.

  2. After many years in radio and Network Programming/syndication (Former PD in Detroit and Phoenix; SVP 24/7 Formats For Jones/Dial Global/Westwood One; then downsized by the CMLS acquisition of Westwood One 18 months ago) I’m spending some time now as a BMW Product Specialist at the #3 BMW dealer in the nation here in Denver. I understand (and know first hand) how a few owners feel, but observing the customer profile for the i3, and based on my interaction with them, helping them understand the technology in the dash, I’d think it unlikely BMW would jump through hoops to include AM tuner. These are mostly young, environmentally conscious consumers who have little awareness of AM. The ‘BMW App’ feature, now standard on all BMW’s, make it easy to manage any online audio stream in the vehicle as well, through your smartphone (not to mention the coming direct 4G internet connectivity). Read the entire BMW Blog article. let’s not blame the auto manufacturers for our troubles. Tech is simply a means to an end to getting ‘our’ content out there. If you’re an AM station, get online and/or pursue an FM Translator. Let’s go where the listeners are!!

  3. I was told by BMW that there is a code you can enter into your infotainment system to restore the AM radio, but because of the interference, they didn’t want that to be a quality/warranty issue, so they ‘fixed’ the problem by eliminating access to the AM radio rather than shielding the wiring to the motor.


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