Eight out of ten new car drivers would never consider buying a car without a radio, according to the biggest ever survey of drivers across UK, France and Germany.
  • 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
Drivers think radio is as ‘vital as tyres and a steering wheel’* according to research launched today (Feb 10th) at a European Broadcasting Union conference in Geneva. 
In the biggest survey of its kind ever undertaken in Europe, all respondents had bought one of the top 20 European car brands within the last 3 years, ensuring a fair comparison between radio and alternative audio options (like music streaming and smartphone integrations), present in more modern cars. 
The results show 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%.
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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 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.  
The research comes as the latest UK RAJAR figures (Q4 2015 issued 04/02/16) revealed that a greater proportion of radio listening is being done at the wheel than ever before. 
Michael Hill, Managing Director of Radioplayer said: “Seatbelt, ignition, radio. That habit’s clearly as ingrained today, as it was 20 years ago. Now we need to act in partnership across the European radio industry, share this research with the car companies, and work together to build the dashboards of the future.” 
The research is supported by the two largest European broadcasting associations – the EBU (which represents public broadcasters), and the AER (representing private broadcasters). 
Stefan Moller, President of the Association of European Radio said: "We've always known that drivers love radio. It's the car’s 'entertain me' button. But it's helpful to have this unique research that proves the strength of the relationship. We support it, and we agree that 'great cars need great radios'."
Simon Fell, EBU Director Technology & Innovation, said: "Radio in cars should continue to be the norm, as we know that people love listening as they drive. However, we need to modernise the car radio interface, and this research will help drive that evolution as digital and hybrid bring new opportunities.  The sooner motorists can travel between countries and maintain digital services the better.”

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