AM/FM Listeners Who Drive….


Change stations 22 times every time they commute, according to data from a new study called “Hacking The Commuter Code” from Edison Research. Edison did not detail why listeners change the station so many times but more detail into the research, provided by Pandora, would lead you to believe it could be the number of commercials you play (see previous story). The research firms says new methodology allowed them to capture the actual, second-by-second behavior of commuters across the country.

And nearly 75% of those who consume audio in the car are likely to switch at least occasionally over the course of their commute. The average user of AM/FM radio switches the station 22 times per commute, while those using other platforms switch an average of 9.3 times. Edison did not detail what the “other” platforms were in its press release.

1,117 employed adults ages 18+ who are employed were surveyed. They commute to work at least twenty minutes in a car or truck, they drive themselves, and listen to some type of audio during that commute. Edison recruited an additional 101 commuters nationwide and asked them to mount a GoPro camera in their cars and record their commutes. Both phases of this study were conducted in the fall of 2015.Edison

Edison says there is a wide variance in behavior among in-car audio users, with results depending on age, the type of content being consumed (e.g., music vs. spoken-word), and access to streaming or satellite radio or integrated multi-media systems.

Edison said it identified three groups in the study:
– The Restless – those who constantly switch (21%)
– The Seekers—those who switch occasionally (52%)
– The Keepers – those who mostly stick one with choice (27%)

“Hacking the Commuter Code” looked into how in-car audio users react to hearing commercials, but no details was provided. The press release from Edison also said, the study found that listeners switch for a variety of reasons—not just in reaction to commercial breaks, but also an ongoing quest for a better song.


  1. The 2 top reasons by a long shot for switching are commercials #1 and song #2. On the commercials side, radio needs to adjust with shorter stopsets, better commercials, more live reads and other ways for advertisers to get frequency such as sponsorships tags for dayparts, weather, sports, news and special programming. The music side is a whole other issue.


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