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“Dashboard Dialogue” Confirms Value of In-Car Radio

New Edison Research survey finds 86% of people would miss having a radio in their car

A video still from one of the “Dashboard Discussions” qualitative survey participants.

A new survey of European car buyers confirms that radio is a valued part of the in-car experience. “If there was no radio, that would be awful. I’d prefer to go without the air-conditioning,” according to one respondent.

The “Dashboard Dialogue” quantitative and qualitative survey was conducted by Edison Research for WorldDAB and released June 15 during WorldDAB Automotive 2023. Results were presented by Megan Lazovick, vice president of Edison Research.

Among the top findings were that 91% of car buyers said it was important for their next or most recent car to have a DAB/DAB+ or FM radio with 82% of prospective car shoppers and 79% of recent car buyers saying the lack of an over-the-air radio would make them much less or somewhat less likely to buy the car.

Overall, 86% said they “would really miss having radio in a vehicle if it were no longer available.”  The same percentage reported listening to DAB/DAB+ or FM radio while in a vehicle during the prior week.

Drivers valued radio for its ability to provide news updates and traffic and weather reports. “I can’t look at my phone when driving to read the news, so I rely on the car radio for the traffic in my area,” said one listener.

Despite the growing number of alternative sources for in-car audio, 87% of recent or prospective car buyers felt that radio signals are consistently reliable, and 75% agreed that radio provides a better listening experience in the car compared to other types of audio sources.

Thinking specifically of DAB+, listeners said it offered clearer sound. The availability of new stations and formats via digital radio was also valued. “I’ve discovered some new stations and I now have this great display,” said one survey participant.

Speaking earlier during the conference, WorldDAB President Patrick Hannon noted that DAB+ is now a standard feature of cars in Europe, with 96% of new cars in 2022 being equipped with DAB+ receivers.

For the quantitative survey, 2,422 adults in France, Germany and the United Kingdom who had either purchased or leased a new vehicle in the past three years or who were planning to get a new car within the next 12 months were contacted in May 2023. In addition, qualitative interviews were conducted with 36 radio listeners who had purchased or leased a new car in the past three years. Half were interviewed in their own car; half in an unfamiliar vehicle.

The 2023 “Dashboard Dialogue” survey builds on similar findings from a 2021 survey Edison Research conducted for WorldDAB.

[Read more Radio World stories about in-car listening.]