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Commutes Are High and In-Car Listening Is Still Strong

March 24, 2017

The windows are rolled down. Or better yet, the top to that beautiful red convertible is down. And, as the wind gently brushes your hair, your preferred radio personality announces your favorite song is up next and you, without hesitation, proceed to turn your volume to 10. Commencing to joyfully sing as if you and James Corden are engaged in “carpool karaoke,” gliding down the highway with ease. ♪♪Little red Corvette. Baby you’re much too fast. Little red Corvette. You need a love that’s gonna last.♪♪

And, then you wake up from that oh so perfect daydream, stuck in the madness of rush-hour traffic as your state is top-rated for the worst commute times in the United States.kb01

According to a recent American Community Survey released by the U.S. Census Bureau, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, and Massachusetts are top-five for having the longest commute times. However, if broken down to actual areas or cities such as Northern Virginia, LA, and New York City, the numbers typically go through the roof. Oh, wait. Your top is down. Or is it?

Why is it important to discuss commute times? Because, loooooooong commute times equate to time spent with the ability to woosah over the soothing sounds of in-car radio listening after a day of meetings and deadlines. Or listening to radio as an information source for traffic, weather, and local or world news as the day is starting.

Myth would have it that drivers are not spending as much time tuning to the AM/FM dial as a result of other increasing audio options. However, according to the study “The Infinite Dial 2017” released this year by Edison Research and Triton Digital, more than eight out of ten (82%) drivers cite AM/FM radio as their most used in-car audio source in their primary car.


According to the Radio Advertising Bureau’s “Why Radio” presentation:

  • Americans average 73 minutes of audio listening in the car per day. And, nearly one out four (24%) listen for 120 minutes or more. (Source: Edison Research’s “Sharing the Road: The Changing In-Car Audio Space,” 2016.)
  • Radio continues to be the top source for traffic reports. Among those using traffic information, more than half (56%) use radio as their top source. (Source: Jacobs TechSurvey 12, 2016.)


One thing that remains true to this day is the power of Radio and that people are still tuned in and engaged, not only in their car, but everywhere. With the numerous other audio options for listeners to hear their old favorites, or to discover new musical/information options, Radio must continue to be the mass medium delivering relevant content to passionate, loyal, and craving-for-information listeners. And, one way to do that is to make sure your station is in tune with what is important to listeners in your local community and keeping them engaged. So get to work to keep radio strong and relevant, and ultimately increase your sales revenue.

Other sources: http://patch.com/maryland/annapolis/maryland-ties-worst-commute-time-u-s

-Kathryn C. Boxill, Radio Sales Research Manager