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Struble: Radio Battles for Earshare in the Dash

IBiquity exec says that trends for “broad connectivity and competitive audio market are ... accelerating”

Word from iBiquity Digital President/CEO Bob Struble is “the trends toward broad connectivity and a tremendously competitive audio market are … accelerating. Broadcasters must redouble their efforts to keep their hard fought place in the media mix.”

Struble’s talking about themes he sees emerging from the recent International CES that affect radio. In his latest blog, the tech executive says consumer electronics in cars — the infotainment system — have become a critical buying factor in new car sales, as important as acceleration, gas mileage and safety ratings.

“Analog radio basically presents a blank screen and has fallen behind competitively. Of course AM/FM has great content, but position on the screen is being decided by automotive product people who are demanding visually-enhanced experiences,” writes Struble.

For broadcasters the bottom line is all cars will soon have Internet connectivity and everything that brings. Radio is jockeying with dozens of digital infotainment services in the car for listener time and attention, according to the tech executive, who also cites the trends of fewer home and portable products that contain AM/FM on CE shelves, bringing car listening into sharper focus.

Since the company is regularly in touch with automakers, iBiquity knows what’s planned for many dashboards in the near future. HD Radio receivers for 2015–16 cars are in iBiquity’s lab for testing now.

At CES, automakers were displaying their HD Radio offerings. IBiquity says its technology is now offered by every car manufacturer, either as standard equipment or as an upgrade, and built into one-third of all new cars sold in the U.S. in 2013.