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Radio Buttons not working, but radio still works

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Factory radio in my 2012 Escape XLT:  Radio buttons, volume and tune dials all dark and not working.  Radio still works with the sterring wheel buttons.  Been told a bunch of different things that are the cause, but don't want to start replacing everything behind the dash for one simple part.  Fuses all seem ok.  Anyone have a clue on the correct culprit?  Open for any diagnosis suggestions as well.  Climate control buttons all work fine.   Aaaaugh!  A huge thank you to all in advance.

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Bought the escape for a rebuilder project. Did all the body work before I noticed the radio did not work. I figured out that fuse 39(?) was missing in the inside fuse box. Put the fuse in and found the same problem...no buttoms work. The code in the computer is U0255. The code is for a communication problem with the front button panel. I checked continuity on the two communications wires to all three radio devices and they showed good,   0.5 ohms. 

I would appreciate some help. Tried spare radio pieces and no change.

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