Tech bug keeps Mazda radios locked in to NPR

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A National Public Radio network has become a must-listen for some Mazda drivers in Washington State, as a tech bug means they are unable to retune.

Owners of 2014-17 Mazdas, in the Puget Sound area, contacted KUOW to report their infotainment systems were permanently locked in to the network.

Missing file extensions in album images sent with its digital-radio broadcast reportedly triggered the glitch.

The fix, according to Mazda, requires the replacement of a component.

'Can't change'

"We know lots of you always keep your car radio tuned to KUOW – but now some drivers don't have a choice," KUOW told listeners.

Scott Smith, in Seattle, told the network his on-screen menu would not stop cycling through options.

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"I tried rebooting it because I've done that in the past – and nothing happened," he said.

"I realised I could hear NPR – but I can't change the station, can't use the navigation, can't use the Bluetooth."

KUOW said local Mazda dealerships had been "flooded with calls".

Over the past couple of weeks, some people who listen to KUOW in their Mazdas say their car radio is permanently stuck on 94.9 FM. It’s only affecting KUOW, Mazdas from 2016, and we have no idea why.

— KUOW Public Radio (@KUOW) February 9, 2022

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

On Reddit, the owner of a 2015 Mazda 3 wrote: "My infotainment unit has been perpetually restarting as of last week – and it's usually dialled to KUOW 94.9.

"I took my car to the shop this morning and they mentioned 50 customers are currently in the same situation, all stuck on KUOW."

Mazda North American Operations said: "A radio station in the Seattle area sent image files with no extension (eg missing '.jpeg' or '.gif'), which caused an issue on some 2014-17 Mazda vehicles with older software.

"Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) has distributed service alerts advising dealers of the issue."

The fix requires the replacement of the $1,500 connectivity master unit, reports say.

But Mazda said customers could apply for a free "goodwill" replacement.

"While dealers are currently experiencing parts delays due to shipping constraints, MNAO will support impacted customers with replacement parts," it added.

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