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The Infinite Dial: Radio Holds Its Own in the Car

AM/FM radio listening up from 2015

This is the first in a series looking at the recentInfinite Dial report.

When it comes to in-car listening, broadcast radio still rules. That’s the word from the Infinite Dial 2016, the latest “consumer adoption of digital media” study from Edison Research and Triton Digital. The data comes from 2001 people 12+ surveyed randomly by cellular and landline phone.

Specifically, 54% of respondents 18+ said that they listen to AM/FM radio “most of the time” in their “primary car” in 2016. That is up from 53% in 2015; but down from the 58% the Infinite Dial 2016 reported listening to in-car AM/FM radio in 2013 and 2014. (No reasons for the changes were given.

“MP3 player/owned digital music” came in at 15% for both 2016 and 2015; up from 11% in 2013 and 13% in 2014. CDs hit 11% for 2016 and 2015,(down from 15% in 2013 and 2014; satellite radio logged in at 11% for 2016, up from 10% in 2015, 11% in 2014, and 10% in 2013; and online radio marked 8%, versus 9% in 2015, 6% in 2014, and 4% in 2013.

More good news for over-the-air broadcasters: The Infinite Dial 2016 reported that 63% of respondents 18+ cited AM/FM radio as their “Audio Source Most Often Used in Primary Car”; up from 60% in 2015.

“CDs/own music collection was second at 15%, down from 17% in 2015; followed by satellite radio at 12% up from 11% in 2015; online radio holding at 8% for both years, and the unspecified ‘Other’ category coming in at 2% in 2016; down from 5% in 2015.

The bottom line: To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of in-car radio’s listenership demise are greatly exaggerated.