Correspondence from Battlefield Dashboard


Media system in a vehicleRadio professionals have known for years now that they are facing a battle of epic proportions in which they are being forced to defend their prime in-vehicle turf. Here’s some news from the battlefront.

And this time it’s good news.

It comes from manufacturers of two new 2015 vehicle models in which all sorts of details are cited in order to lure customers in for a test drive and better yet, a purchase.

The models are the 2015 Dodge Challenger “Shaker” models and the Hyundai Elantra GT.

As with all new vehicles, the cars will be connected – meaning that they will be allowing a whole slew of internet competitors into the vehicle, not to mention access to satcaster SiriusXM.

But in both cases, not only is traditional AM-FM radio still in the mix, it got top billing in the press release.

Dodge said the Challenger will have “…Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen display with AM/FM/SiriusXM Radio, Bluetooth, 3-D navigation-capable and Uconnect Access with 9-1-1 call/Assist Call , six premium speakers and 276-watt digital amplifier.”

Hyundai had a similar albeit more detailed description, saying, “Elantra GT comes standard with a 172-watt AM/FM/SiriusXM Satellite Radio/CD/MP3 audio system with six-speakers and iPod®/USB/auxiliary input jacks. A Bluetooth interface is also standard. The system plays CDs, accesses digital music files via Bluetooth streaming audio or allows driver and passenger to access their personal listening devices through the iPod/USB/auxiliary inputs.”

RBR-TVBR observation: As recently as last fall we were hearing concerns that AM and FM radio, if included on the new modern dashboard, was increasingly difficult to find.

It would appear that manufacturers are rethinking that. We sure hope so.

We know that the good folks at Emmis/Tagstation are reporting that the elements that NextRadio brings to the FM on cell project also vastly increase the attractiveness of radio on the modern car dashboard – yet another reason for all radio companies to help boost the application.

It also is a strong reason for radio companies to invest heavily in their own special local brand – the one thing all those digital-only services will have the most difficulty doing.

It’s probably AM-FM radio’s strongest competitive edge, and we believe it needs to be wielded to the max.