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Survey Says AM-FM Radio Continues to Dominate In-Car Media

Online and podcast listening in mobile environments increasing

Infinite Dial survey

The latest numbers from Edison Research and Triton Digital’s 2019 The Infinite Dial show that things have remained rather stable in the in-car media environment for the past three years. That shouldn’t be too surprising, when one considers that most people don’t go out and buy a new car every year.

[Read: Survey Says Smart Speaker Sales Drive Online Audio Listening]

The good news for radio is that AM-FM remains the top source for news and entertainment. When respondents listed audio sources currently ever used in the car, radio comes in at 81%. Owned digital music and the CD player were almost tied for a distant second, with 45% and 43% respectively. CD use has declined from 52% in 2017, however, reflecting, perhaps, the purchase of new cars which no longer have a CD player.

One significant uptick the research suggested was an increase from 12% to 16% in the combined listening to online and podcasts in cars. These numbers seem to affirm the increased listening in the home, and suggest a growing interest in these newer mediums.

The numbers for “online audio listening in car through a cellphone” dropped from 42% in 2018 to 41% this year. At first, this may seem odd. Triton and Edison suggest that it indicates that more people are using in-dash entertainment systems, and don’t need to plug a cellphone in any longer. And indeed, their numbers for use of these systems showed an increase from 15% in 2018 to 19% in 2019.

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