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Automakers, Carriers Want to See Radio Innovation

NextRadio says carriers often say: “Show us you can do it”

Automakers are pushing the radio industry for innovation — like offering a more visual, interactive experience, such as what Pandora or iHeartRadio provide, said Jacobs Media GM Paul Jacobs during a webinar this week.

Jacobs said automakers, who are designing model year 2019 cars now, “use your stations to sell cars,” explaining that local dealerships are consistently a top advertiser on commercial stations — and as such, have an affinity for what’s happening with the medium in the center stack.

He relayed the story of Jacobs Media Digital/Social Media Strategist Lori Lewis, who purchased a new car last year. Twenty minutes into the demo by the sales rep on how the infotainment system worked, she asked where the radio was, and found out it was on the second screen.

Radio World has been reporting that auto and device makers want to include radio in future products, however exactly where that inclusion is gets a little fuzzy unless the industry provides a compelling reason for listeners to tune in — making device makers notice.

NextRadio proponents believe the FM app and its interactive, more visually engaging elements, can help propel the industry in that direction. Emmis CTO Paul Brenner says proponents have been talking with automakers about auto integration for the NextRadio app, as well as wireless carriers beyond Sprint. “They often say ‘Show us you can do it.’”

Sprint and its related companies now offer the embedded NextRadio app on 20 model smartphones; there will be 30 by year-end and a tablet is coming soon, according to Brenner.

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