Radio Remains the Top Media Choice in the Car

February 14, 2023

AM/FM radio has long been the top source of in-car audio, and it seems that old habits die hard. Almost two-thirds (63%) of Americans surveyed by Hub Entertainment Research report using OTA radio either every time or most times when driving. The study [excerpt download page] finds that this outpaces other options, including streaming and personal downloads.

Indeed, fewer than half as many respondents said they listen to a streaming music/audio subscription (31%) all or most times when in the car, with similar portions saying the same about satellite radio (30%), personal music downloads (28%) and free streaming music/audio (26%).

This preference extends to car buying: almost 4 in 10 (39%) say that they’re more likely to buy a car if it has an OTA radio, compared to 31% who concur regarding satellite radio and 27% for Apple CarPlay.

OTA radio also leads the way when respondents are using mass transit, but there’s a much more even distribution of preferences in this case. While half say they listen to OTA radio all or most times that they use mass transit, almost equal proportions reported that frequency of use for personal music downloads (48%), free streaming music/audio (47%), free streaming video (47%), and streaming music/audio subscriptions (45%).

When using mass transit, respondents are most likely to listen to music/songs, followed closely by audiobooks. When driving, music/songs are easily the top choice, but are followed by talk radio.

It’s a different story (pun intended) when traveling in the air: on airlines, books are the most commonly used medium, with 37% using them every time or most times they fly. Personal music downloads are the second-most used medium (33%).

Finally, in examining media use on the move (outside of the home, the office, etc.), Hub notes that Wi-Fi is considered the most essential service in hotel rooms, while broadcast and cable networks rank a somewhat surprising second, ahead of streaming services.

For more, download the report’s executive summary here.

About the Data: The results are based on a November 2022 survey of 2,566 US consumers ages 16-74.


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