🇬🇧 How important is the Radio in your car? Radioplayer and BBC research

The recent research “Great cars need great Radios” conducted in UK, Germany and France by Radioplayer and BBC reports that:

  1. Essential: 82% of drivers would not consider buying a car without a radio
  2. Dominant: 75% of all in-car listening is to the radio, even in modern cars
  3. Frequent: 84% always or mostly listen to the radio on every journey
  4. Free:  90% believe radio should always be free and easy to listen to

Read the Radioplayer’s post and download the infographic (jpg 1,87 mb).

Looking at these findings I think that cars manufacturers could invest more in an old technology like the radio one. Following some point that I addresed reading the research:

  • if drivers like listening music in the car, a good sound should be really appreciated: manufacturers could improve the sound equipment on the entry level models like WV and FCA are doing selling the Beats branded versions of their small cars
  • if drivers prefer listening to the radio instead of external sources like hard drives, smartphones or streaming services means that:
    – drivers don’t like to plug an external device into the car
    – drivers don’t like to have to set up and turn-on an external device or service every time that they get into the car
    – manufacturer could design more integrated docks for speeding up the smartphones connection (I know, I know..there are thousands of models and it will cost a lot, but it’s just a design idea)


  • drivers like music variety, contents and human empathy that only a traditional radio can offer
    – drivers don’t like the streaming services because, at last, they risk to listen always the same kind of music


  • the 90% of drivers don’t want to pay for listening music, so manufacturer should find the way to offer bundled subscriptions for streaming music service and mobile data (only Volvo offers something similar). This kind of subscription could:
    – let the drivers free to start listening music in streaming immediatelly after turning on the car without connecting any cable or activating any bluetooth/hotspot connection (that are both battery consuming)
    – avoid that drivers had to use their mobile data for services that they have never paid before (listening to music in the car)

I know that some of these “suggestions” are really complex to realize because of the technical and commercial implications like the reliability of the music streaming companies (“Danger: Startup Unicorns on the road” #lol), the mobile network roaming costs , the subscription ownership in the second-hand market, etc. But I liked the research and I wanted to share with you my thoughts.

If you want to read the evolution from the AM Radio systems to the Infotainment Systems, read the Mono AM Radio to Touchscreen Infotainment: Nine Decades of Automotive Head Units post on about.com/auto.


Image source Fiat radio 1939, Wikipedia.


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