2016 Mazda Radios in Seattle Are Stuck on KUOW, and Nobody Knows Why
Radio station KUOW-FM in Seattle has acknowledged a problem they’ve been hearing about for a few weeks: listeners who drive 2016 model Mazdas can’t get their radios to stop playing the NPR station.
“Permanently stuck” is how the station describes the problem, saying it has heard from “Mazda owners from around the Puget Sound region.” The station cited one Scott Smith, whose 2016 Mazda CX-5 has an infotainment screen that freezes on to the station and won’t let him use Bluetooth, navigation, or any other station. Yes, he tried rebooting it.
On the bright side, Smith says he is able to adjust the volume. “Luckily,” says the Seattle resident, “I am an NPR listener so that’s fine,” he said. (What were the chances?)
There’s a lively discussion thread on Reddit in which others describe the issue in detail. The radio station’s technical director said on the thread that the station has shut off its data for the HD Radio service. KUOW issued an official statement as well saying the company has given “complete access to our transmitters” to Xperi, the company that developed HD Radio technology, to look into the problem. Another possibility mentioned by the radio station is that a recent switch to a 5G signal may have caused the older infotainment system to be glitchy.
Mazda dealers acknowledged hearing about the problem from owners but don’t have a fix to suggest yet. One of the owners was Smith, who says he’s far down on a waiting list to have the issue looked at.
In the meantime, “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” is very entertaining.