Consumer Surveys · January 11, 2019

“Radio” Listening Dominates Audio In-Car

By edison

As Edison Research’s Share of Ear® studies have consistently shown, when people are in their cars, it is AM/FM Radio that is the overwhelmingly dominant audio companion – -with 67% of all listening going to broadcast radio.

No matter the age of the car one is driving, this is the case. AM/FM garners a strong majority of all time spent listening in the car, even among people who drive the newest cars.

However, one can’t help but see that among those who drive the newest cars, listening to AM/FM is not quite as robust as it is among people who drive older cars.  When people have more choices, some people will, obviously, avail themselves of these new options.  And the choice that people driving newer cars seem to be making in greater numbers is SiriusXM.  As the graph below shows, among people whose principal car is model years 2015-2018 more than one-quarter of listening in the car goes to SiriusXM.

What is fascinating is if one adds together the AM/FM number and the SiriusXM number, as is shown in the graph below.  In every case, the sum of the two numbers is essentially the same.  No matter the age of the car – about seven-eighths of all listening goes to “Radio” – whether it is delivered from a satellite dish or a ‘terrestrial’ tower.

Share of Ear In Car Listening AM FM and SiriusXM

For all the discussion of new technologies in the car, such as voice activation, podcasts, and streaming, for most people and drivers of most cars, their time spent behind the wheel is taken with linear, programmed, hosted ‘radio’ type content.

For more on in-car listening, download the complete Miles Different: In-Car Audio study here.

How the Share of Ear® study is conducted:
Edison Research conducts a nationally representative study of Americans ages 13 and older to measure their time spent listening to audio sources. Respondents complete a 24-hour diary of their audio listening on an assigned day. Diaries are completed both online and by-mail using a paper diary. Diaries were completed in both English and Spanish.

About Edison Research
Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information to a broad array of clients, including Activision, AMC Theatres, Disney, Dolby Laboratories, Google, Oracle, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Pandora, Samsung, Siemens, Sony, The Gates Foundation, and Univision. Edison is the leading podcast research company in the world and has conducted research on the medium for NPR, Slate, ESPN, PodcastOne, WNYC Studios, and many more companies in the space.  Another specialty for Edison is its work for media companies throughout the world, conducting research in North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe. Edison is also the leading provider of consumer exit polling and has conducted face-to-face research in almost every imaginable venue. Since 2004, Edison Research has been the sole provider of Election Day data to the National Election Pool, conducting exit polls and collecting precinct vote returns to project and analyze results for every major presidential primary and general election.


Get our latest insights delivered to your inbox.