90% of respondents believed radio should always be free to use, with 65% of drivers not happy to pay for an app to access the radio in their car

90% of respondents believed radio should always be free to use, with 65% of drivers not happy to pay for an app to access the radio in their car

A survey of drivers across UK, France and Germany whowed that, despite new in-car technology, eight of 10 car drivers would never consider buying a car without a radio.

Key findings include: 

  • Essential: 82% of drivers would not consider buying a car without a radio 
  • Dominant: 75% of all in-car listening is to the radio, even in modern cars
  • Frequent: 84% always or mostly listen to the radio on every journey
  • Free:  90% believe radio should always be free and easy to listen to

All respondents had bought one of the top 20 European car brands within the last three years, ensuring a fair comparison between radio and alternative audio options (like music streaming and smartphone integrations), present in more modern cars. 

The survey was commissioned by UK Radioplayer, the not-for-profit partnership between the BBC and commercial radio. The Radioplayer model has now spread to Germany, Austria, Norway, Belgium, and Ireland – and these six countries are working together to help grow radio across Europe.

MD Michael Hill said: "We already know people love listening to radio in their cars – this research is a useful reminder to the motoring industry of radio's enduring appeal amongst a host of new digital alternatives.  Furthermore, it is evidence that the radio and motor industry must work together to ensure we produce car radios that are simple and easy to use in the digital dashboards of the future."

The research showed radio's continued dominance of the dashboard, delivering 75% of all in-car listening, with 84% of drivers 'always' or 'mostly' listening to radio on every journey. 

When drivers were asked to nominate the one entertainment source they'd keep in their car above all others, it was overwhelmingly shown to be radio, chosen by 69%, with UK drivers feeling particularly strongly at 73%.

There were surprisingly few differences across age, gender or car-type, when looking at almost every aspect of in-car radio, including across the younger demographic of 20 – 29 years old. 78% of them would not consider buying a car without a radio (only 4% less than the average).

Across all three countries, 90% of respondents believed radio should always be free to use, with 65% of drivers not happy to pay for an app to access the radio in their car, and the Germans feeling most strongly at 71%.  

The research comes as the latest UK RAJAR figures (Q4 2015 04/02/16) revealed that a higher proportion of radio listening is being done at the wheel than ever before. 

The research was supported by the two largest European broadcasting associations – the EBU (which represents public broadcasters), and the AER (representing private broadcasters).