Radio: Not Dead Yet, Especially in the Car

It’s become very fashionable in some circles to dump all over traditional radio. “Irrelevant!” they’ll say. “Who listens to radio anymore?”  Well, a lot of people, actually. An awful lot.

According to a new study by Ipsos, it is very, very clear that the humble AM/FM radio remains the number one choice for audio entertainment in cars. (This is a US study, but since our industry is healthier than theirs–and that streaming has yet to make the same impact on this side of the border–it’s probably safe to say that this data applies to Canada, too.) Here’s what we learned:

  • 84% of those survey say they listen to radio in the car
  • In second spot, CDs with 64%.
  • Satellite radio comes in third at 22%
  • Pandora, a service we still don’t get, is used by 18%, followed by iHeartRadio (we don’t get that, either) at 8% with HD Radio (nope to Canada) and Spotify tied at 7%.
  • While many people do set up new streaming services for use in the car, 99% of those surveyed say they’re perfectly fine with their current AM/FM radio setup.
  • Interestingly, 91% would rather have buttons to control their radio rather than an AM/FM app that shows up on the infotainment screen.

Bottom line from all this? People want all kinds of music and information options in the car. Radio is just the easiest to use–and that’s a big advantage. More details here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “Radio: Not Dead Yet, Especially in the Car

  • March 3, 2015 at 8:29 am

    Way to hang on, CDs! Compact discs are my ‘traveling collection’. The vinyl is for home and the CDs are for the road. I have an 800+ CD collection and probably a good 80% gets played at least once a year. And thanks to short-sighted consumers I can now find incredible selections dirt cheap at even the crummiest of church basement thrift stores.


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