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Radio News: Industry attempts to retain car listeners

May 04, 2022 11:33 pm

Motorola’s $130 car radio in 1930 for a Model A Deluxe coupe cost $540 and was the first commercially successful car radio, according to Car and Driver magazine. Inside Radio reports that many radio business officials continue to worry about the threat to the dominance of AM and FM signals in those vehicles. “What's driving a lot of these threats is the fact that you have 12 large global technology audio companies coming into the dash very aggressively to steal your listeners,” said Joe D’Angelo, Senior VP of Broadcast at Xperi, a company working with broadcasters to maintain radio's dashboard dominance. Apps such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on a dashboard screen look like what consumers see on their smartphones. There's also Android Automotive, an operating system which gives Google control, and, of course, any Bluetooth connection gets listeners any sound those phones can also receive. Currently AM/FM radio continues to lead in-car listening with 56 percent of audio time there tuned in over the air, and, increasingly, through Bluetooth radio signals. Of course, 56 percent is a lot smaller then the old days when singing was radio's only competition in a car. Xperi is asking what information people in cars listening to the radio want on their dashboards. Emergency weather information, song information, game scores, and the name of the host all scored high. Xperi CEO Steve Newberry said, “We are in the process of embracing the screen-ification of radio, helping the industry move from being an audio medium to being a medium that can compete with Spotify, Pandora, and SiriusXM and all of our other competitors that we have on the dashboard.”