AM/FM Still ‘King of All Media’ In-Car

AM/FM radio continues to be “the king of all media” in the car, but expect smartphone connectivity to grow in-vehicle, according to Arbitron SVP Marketing Bill Rose.

That’s a big takeaway from the latest Infinite Dial study by Arbitron and Edison Research.

AM/FM radio leads over other in-car audio options at 84% of drivers who had “ever” used this option, compared to 63% who used a CD player and 29% who used an iPod/MP3 player. Fifteen percent said they listened to satellite radio, followed by online radio at 12% and HD Radio at 3%.

When asked what audio option they use most of the time in the car, 58% said AM/FM radio, followed by 15% who mainly listened to CD players and 11% who said online radio. Satellite radio followed at 10%, followed by 4% for online radio and 1% who said HD Radio.

“We think Bluetooth availability will have a big impact” on these numbers, Rose said. Nearly three-in-ten, or roughly 28%, said they have a Bluetooth connection in their car. “This number is going to grow and it’s worth keeping an eye on,” said Rose.

Ditto for in-dash infotainments systems. while only 6% have them now, researchers expect this figure to increase over time as well. 

Also, one-in-five (21%) have used their cellphone to listen to online radio in a car. That compares to 6% who did so in 2010.

The use of podcasting has slowed as more Americans have DVRs in their home.

Some 45% of consumers have a DVR in their home now, compared to 28% in 2008.

Radio stations may want to relaunch their podcasts to a wider audience and claim ownership of time-shifted radio, said Edison Research VP Strategy & Marketing Tom Webster. 

This is the 21st Infinite Dial study. Researchers interviewed more than 2,000 people about their use of digital platforms and new media. Download the study from either or


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