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Great Cars Need Great Radios

Anyone who's passed their driving test, and ventured out on a summer evening with the windows open and the speakers blaring, knows that cars and radio go together, like roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. Those of us in radio know it anecdotally, from friends, family, and listeners who get in touch. And the official audience-measurement people at RAJAR announced last week that the proportion of in-car radio listening has hit a record high.

But, amazingly, we've never had the solid data to prove and explore the strength of this bond between drivers and their radios. Until now. 

At Radioplayer, we aim to make radios easier to use, by working in partnership across the industry. In the UK, we're backed by the BBC and commercial radio. Elsewhere in Europe, there are Radioplayer partnerships in Germany, Austria, Ireland, Norway, and Belgium. Last year we decided to work together to strengthen that bond between radio and cars - partnering with European broadcasters, technology developers, and automotive companies to make the in-car radio experience even better.

But first, we needed to know a lot more about what goes on, when people get behind the wheel and start listening. We needed that solid data.

So we worked with a great automotive research company called Proteus, to design the biggest survey that's ever been undertaken, into how European drivers feel about in-car radio. They interviewed 1500 people across the UK, France, and Germany - and we backed this up with in-depth video interviews, to understand and illustrate the findings (example below).


When you commission research on this scale, you can never be quite sure what you're going to discover. But when the results came in, they amazed even us. They showed a remarkably deep and resilient bond between drivers and their radios, even in the face of new dashboard entertainment options (all the people we spoke to had bought a new car in the last 3 years, so these were well-equipped modern vehicles).

And just to be clear - we're talking about Proper Radio here. Crafted broadcasting, with a human touch. Our research also covered music streaming services, but they didn't seem to resonate with our drivers as powerfully (check out our videos to see how radio means so much more to people than just the music we play).  

There's a range of resources available, but the infographic below is a good place to start. And if you want more detail, or you want to work in partnership with us on the car radios of the future -  get in touch via our contact form, or on Twitter.