What Do You Listen to When You Drive? And How Many Times Do You Flip Stations?

Pandora, the Internet radio company, did some research about the music listening habits of drivers. The data is from the US, but we might be able to extrapolate a few things. Let’s start with this chart that looks at the age of your car and the source you’re apt to use for music as a result.


Another fact: 90% of commuters listen to terrestrial radio but flip stations an average of 22 times per trip. Wow.

Why? Commercials, mostly but close behind is a dislike of whatever song is play. Going deeper, 59% of commuters who plan to buy a new car say that looking at a connected car will loom large in their decision.

Read more at RAIN.

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.

2 thoughts on “What Do You Listen to When You Drive? And How Many Times Do You Flip Stations?

  • April 9, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    I flip the station right away when commercials come on.

    Over the decades they’ve perfected ads that grab your attention, whether you want to listen or not. Everyone’s yelling all the time, annoying sounds, etc. It distracts from my driving, and that’s not good.

  • April 9, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    What is radio’s response to this? Play the top songs as often as possible so someone *hopefully stops on your station because they like/know that song – and then bombard them with advertising… the same ads over and over, just like the playlist. *Hopefully, they’ll stay for the next song too!
    In a nutshell, radio & advertisers are spending all their energy and effort chasing the most fickle uncommitted people. Short term short sighted, and tired.

    I see:

    1. Advertisers providing the bandwidth, providing the stream. I get to stream desired content free, I listen to their ads. Fair trade. Maybe I subscribe to an advertiser (or a group of advertisers, or a theme of advertisers) instead of subscribing to a service provider or a particular radio station. Maybe an advertiser(s) aggregates the content I want to hear.

    2. Integration of my content and specific information/radio content. Example: I listen to music from my device, but at select intervals (preselected by me or on demand or by contract) I get local live content from a radio (or whatever the equivalent Broadcast medium) station. News, weather, sports, traffic, entertainment or any (selected) combo of. This keeps me in the moment, and connected to society (which is 90% of what radio offers).

    3. Related to that, I get a curated stream based on my content (could include a % of my content and other selected for me) ad supported, advertiser stream supported, or a combo of subscription/ad support, maybe as specific as how much I contribute vs how much advertising i hear.

    4. Some kind of ad tracking (similar to any rewards card, like SDH Optimum) that gives me credit for buying products in support of content I’ve listened to, or in response to purchases via ads I’ve heard from content I support.

    Podcasting is on the track towards this. I listen to a lot of podcasts. Many of the same advertisers are using podcasting, using purchase codes that identify the revenue source. Also, even though the ad message is the same, the individual podcaster is delivering the content, it’s personal and it’s a different experience each time because some will improvise or go off message or screw up. I am more likely (and do) to support advertisers who are supporting the content I choose.


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