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Will AM/FM Radio Exist in the Car of the Future?

Radio Futures session panelists think it may take on a new form

ATLANTA�Is terrestrial radio�s future in the car at risk? The answer seemed to be yes, no and maybe, according to the panelists at theRadio Show�s�Radio Futures: New Developments for the Connected Car� session.

This discussion featured panelists from Ford�s Global Lead for Business Development & Partner Management, Scott Burnell, Cisco Systems Director of Smart Connected Vehicles, Andreas Mai, and AT&T Mobility VP of Business Development � Internet of Things Solutions, Joe Mosele. It was moderated by Paul McLane, editor in chief of Radio World.

On-demand content will be key, but localization will remain a strength for radio, as will its built-in audiences, despite shifting preferences among the younger demographic. �Radio stations need to focus on being a preferred content provider and maintaining their position on the presets.

All three panelists also repeatedly touched on the importance of eliminating driver distraction as in-vehicle entertainment options evolve, although Cisco�s Mai seemed most bullish about the possibilities presented by autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles. Other, perhaps more near-future options may include voice control and haptic feedback in the dashboard. �

Ford�s Burnell also reminded attendees that the engineering refresh is three years for a car, while a redesign is five years.

AT&T�s Mosele seconded that, saying, �we�re striking deals today that will be on the road in model year 2018.�

All three panelists also noted that Internet radio delivery is increasingly popular, but technology is not totally up-to-speed with consumer demand.

If you switch from terrestrial radio to Internet, then you want to have at least as good a quality. In some parts of the world that isn�t yet an option, Mai said.

Also, Burnell noted, �having your content and doing cool stuff while you�re driving has no place in the pecking order compared to braking.�

And in case there was any doubt, this standing-room only attendance demonstrated that broadcasters want to know more about the digital dashboard.