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The In-Car Conundrum

Are the changes to “connected dashboards” the end of radio’s in-car dominance?

Fred Jacobs from US radio consultancy Jacobs Media and Michael Hill from the UK’s Radioplayer presented their research and insight into the sector and its potential affect on the UK radio industry.


For Fred he realised that radio had taken the car for granted for a long-time but that the world has changed and we haven’t kept up, more importantly the radio industry isn’t engaging with automotive companies about the future of broadcast radio in their devices.

Michael Hill talked about the change in the people at car-companies In the old days engineers spoke to engineers about RF, nowadays UX designers are more excited about the things that they use - Spotify and Pandora - and that we need to engage to make sure broadcast is a big part of the future.


Consumers with connected devices have made it very much a part of their lives, both panellists felt we had to make sure broadcast radio looked as good and attractive as the new shiny entrants.


For Michael what was essential was:

  • Speaking to the car companies together - at a country level, and a continent level. If your commercial and public radio doesn’t talk to each other that needs to change - you need scale to have the right discussions.
  • Realise the future is broadcast plus the internet - we can use both platforms. Take the simplicity of broadcast radio and combine it with the benefits of IP - for visuals, EPGs etc
  • Make radio easy to plug and play in-car - by pooling information and technology we can offer car manufacturers a one-stop shop to easily integrate.
  • Go on the offensive. It’s all to play for. It’s a new platform if we push, we’ll be successful.
  • However, we need an interface that can stun Apple and Google - we should take what we know about radio and listeners and do a great job with how it looks.


For Fred, he felt it was important to:

  • Drive a connected car - you need to see what they are and how they work
  • Attend a connected car conference - be part of the car industry as much as the radio industry - remember it delivers between 20% and 50% of all radio hours (dependent on territory)
  • Develop a mobile strategy with a car strategy in mind. Many devices integrate with apps - does yours?
  • Reimagine your brand’s content strategy - does the content you produce work well in-car.

Fred Jacobs interviewed by Trevor Dann, Radiodays Europe: