Consumers still want AM & FM Radio in the car dash

car-radio 150pixA writer from the influential Forbes Magazine gave radio a plug this week as he wrote about the importance of the AM & FM radio is the car dashboard in 2015. Christopher Versace warns car manufacturers need to be careful about what they build into the car entertainment centre in 2015 and beyond. “Don’t get too enamoured with the latest digital technology and forget that consumers still love their AM/FM radio” said Versace.

This is based on a new IPSOS poll published 9 April 2015 which says that while consumers do want changes to their infotainment system, they still want AM and FM radio to remain the heart and soul of their car entertainment. “When 1,000 adults were sampled and asked about their car audio preferences, 91% said they desire typical car radio with 9% preferring an app-based system. Per the data, 84% of respondents listen to AM/FM radio while relatively new systems like Sirius/XM, Pandora  and Spotify came in at 22%, 18% and 7%, respectively.  Finally, when asked about their preferences for entertainment options in their next car, 80% of consumers chose AM/FM over CD players, connected smartphones and other forms of audio entertainment.”

This is more proof that consumers prefer to listen to AM or FM radio in the car during the daily commute which is getting longer and longer each year in North America and Europe. This is great news for advertisers who are finding it more and more difficult to reach consumers in the hours before they make a purchasing decision. PVR’s are making Television a less attractive advertising vehicle these days as more consumers record programs and watch them later and skip the commercials and and endless station promos.   “For those looking to sell products, the sheer size of the audience makes radio advertising one of the most effective ways to market goods and services.  And for local news and information, there is nothing like broadcast radio. It’s not like satellite radio will provide you with a local weather forecast” says Versace.

Versace offers up the following advice to automakers. “Despite America’s love affair with terrestrial radio, salesmen of the latest modern equipment and authors who fancy themselves as the next Isaac Asimov suggest its time for auto-mobile manufacturers are considering replacing the AM/FM radio in your car with an app-driven system that would remove the consumer’s ability to get local terrestrial radio in their car.  Based on heavily sampled consumer preferences, the data suggests this would be a grave mistake.”

Radio as an industry needs to tell this story and sell the benefits of our medium to local and national advertisers. We need to do a better job of convincing them that radio is still one of the most effective ways to reach consumers. Despite the technological advances that are making the car a digital hub on wheels, the consumer’s love affair with AM/FM radio remains. The numbers of radio listeners are staggering. More Americans listen to AM/FM radio each week than use Facebook. Nearly 60% of the population listens to the radio on a daily basis and nearly 85% of the American people report listening to the radio at least once a week.