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New Report From Quu Does a Real Service for U.S. Radio

Learn how the 100 top-selling cars in the U.S. display your radio metadata — and see photos

Metadata displayed in a Honda 2023 HR-V EX-L model. The study informs us that the car has FM, AM, HD Radio including HD logo and multicast channels, as well as SiriusXM, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The car has a dedicated radio button and supports PS Data and Radio Text as well as HD Radio Artist Experience.

I’m not often blown away by the release of a new industry report or resource. But I was wowed this morning when I got a look at something called the “2024 In-Vehicle Visuals Report,” which was just released by Quu.

Specifically I was stunned by the collection of data that the company has posted for anyone in the industry to inspect.

If you care about how your radio station appears on dashboards in the United States, you need to check this out.

This past winter, Quu’s CEO Steve Newberry sent a talented young researcher out to car dealerships to sit in the 100 top-selling new cars in the United States for 2023.

That researcher gathered extensive information in each vehicle: What radio services does it have? Is there a dedicated radio button? Does the car support PS Data and Radio Text for FM? Does it display HD Radio artist and title, logos and album art?

A summary of some key data from across the 100 car models studied.

And he took photos.

Quu then put together a web page that lists its findings for each new make and model of those 100 vehicles — and it provides the images. You can see how your RDS and HD Radio metadata would display on all of those dashboards, and compare them.

I’ve talked in this space for years about the importance of providing good metadata, and I told you that NAB’s David Layer has sat in some cars himself and found that many stations don’t do a good job of managing these visual components. We’ve also published photos over the years of sample dashboard displays of various technologies.

But this is something different, a data set that allows the industry to make some sweeping insights. I’m aware of no such similar tool.

Out of the gate, Quu is highlighting six key findings:

  • It found that AM/FM radio is “ubiquitous” in new vehicles, with 100% having FM and 98% still having AM. “The rumors of AM/FM disappearing from the dash have been highly exaggerated,” Quu concludes.
  • Not surprisingly, though, it found that broadcast radio no longer has a dashboard monopoly, thanks to the presence of satellite radio, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and …
  • … a smaller but growing number of in-car streaming apps, which are most prevalent in GM and Toyota cars. Quu found that on average there are now six direct audio sources per new vehicle (and some of them can access thousands of audio sources each — so essentially, radio faces infinite audio competition).
  • Two out of three new cars have HD Radio installed. That’s an important landmark for the long-term rollout of that digital radio technology. “While not universal (yet),” Quu wrote, “two out of three new vehicles have dozens of additional local market signals at their fingertips, presenting opportunities as well as challenges.”
  • But General Motors is an important exception to the broader adoption of HD Radio. GM accounts for one out of five of the top new vehicles sold, but it only supports HD Radio in certain Cadillac models.
  • It found that all new vehicles have in-dash text capabilities, and most can display logos and other images. “A radio station’s in-dash experience is a vital part of its brand and needs to be treated as such.”

I spoke with Steve Newberry today. He emphasized that although Quu obviously has an interest in this topic as a supplier of visual products in the dash, this report and data are being published free as an effort to raise awareness and understanding among both broadcasters and advertisers.

None of us has the time to go sit in hundreds of new cars. None of us really has an appreciation of how much variety there is in how our stations show up to our listeners. But here you can.

This initiative represents a serious attempt to help radio managers and advertisers comprehend how stations show up in new vehicles that flood our marketplace each year. Quu plans to repeat the study over time.

Newberry will hold a webinar about this tomorrow (April 10) that you can attend, with experts Fred and Paul Jacobs of Jacobs Media, Mike McVay of Media Consulting and Joe D’Angelo of Xperi (info here).

But you don’t have to wait for the webinar to review the findings and access the data directly. You can find the report here and look at the data here. I strongly encourage you to browse both.