As Radio Fights For The Dashboard, AM/FM Leads In Autos


As Congress reconvenes for what could be a massive autumn for radio’s place in the automobile, Edison Research’s Share of Ear study reveals the significant role AM/FM radio plays in in-car audio habits among American drivers. This study, analyzed in the Cumulus Media/Westwood One Audio Active Group’s latest blog, aims to assist automakers in understanding the preferences of their customers while offering insights for effective advertising strategies.

When examining audio time spent in Ford vehicles, AM/FM radio accounts for 58% of total in-car listening, three times greater than its nearest competitor, SiriusXM’s ad-free channels. For ad-supported audio, radio has an even more substantial hold with an 87% share among Ford drivers.

These findings are not exclusive to Ford drivers. Among all US drivers, AM/FM captures 59% of all audio time spent in cars, with an 85% share of in-car ad-supported listening. This places OTA radio as the leading audio platform for advertising, especially for automakers aiming to target both current and prospective customers.

For Toyota drivers, the numbers are similar to Ford, with radio taking a 61% share of all in-car audio and an 87% share of ad-supported audio. However, there’s a slight variation among luxury German car owners like Mercedes, BMW, and Porsche. While AM/FM still leads with a 73% share in ad-supported audio, these drivers show a higher tendency to tune into SiriusXM’s spoken word channels, which accept ads.

Auto Brands and Radio
(Cumulus Media/Westwood One Audio Active Group)

For automakers, these statistics indicate the immense popularity of AM/FM radio among their customer base. Whether it’s Ford, Toyota, or luxury German brands, traditional radio remains a dominant force in in-car audio. This presents a considerable opportunity for automakers to utilize AM/FM radio as an effective advertising platform to reach a broad swath of American drivers.


  1. You wrote: “Whether it’s Ford, Toyota, or luxury German brands, traditional radio remains a dominant force in in-car audio…” Chart shows AM/FM radio for BMW at 41%.
    41% isn’t dominant.


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