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Radio Needs to Stay Focused on In-Dash Relevance

A third of those surveyed preferred Internet radio there over local AM/FM

The dashboard of tomorrow will be IP-connected, customizable and much different from today’s precious auto real estate. Because of that, radio needs to focus more on staying relevant in the dash and less on getting FM chips in mobile devices.

That’s according to researcher Mark Ramsey, who says a survey he did with VIP Research suggests the future of the dash is looking more like an IP-driven one rather than “an FM chip game,” an apparent reference to NAB’s current focus on getting FM chips in cellphones.

On his blog, Ramsey says one-third of terrestrial radio listeners polled said they would listen less to local radio if they had easy access to Internet radio in their cars.

The survey was of 2,000 radio listeners in 22 markets. The survey asked respondents to imagine that they could get Internet access from their dashboards that was as easy to use as the radio and that they could listen to thousands of stations. Would they listen less to their local stations as a result?

About two-thirds said they would listen to just as much local radio as they do now; 34% said they would listen to less, according to Ramsey’s results.

The result varies by format; among alternative fans, 50% said they would listen less to local radio.

He also asked if they’d rather have a radio in their iPod or MP3 player, or an Internet radio with access to thousands of stations in their car. “The results were equally startling, with 61% preferring in-dash Internet radio over 28% who preferred radio built into their iPods,” states Ramsey.

He clarifies that by “Internet radio,” he doesn’t mean how it exists today as a cable linking a mobile device to the car, but rather, integrated into the dashboard alongside AM/FM radio.

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