The amount of traffic gridlock has increased after slumping for two years. Yes, we said slumping, because less traffic is a sign of fewer people working and less merchandise moving via the commercial trucking fleet, according to INRIX. And of course, more traffic is a very good thing for radio.
The latest INRIX Gridlock Index stands at 6.8, which means that in 100 municipalities, the time spent commuting increased by 6.8%, comparing February 2013 to February 2012. It is said to be the largest such increase in two years.
“Traffic is a great indicator of confidence on the ground,” said Bryan Mistele , CEO of INRIX. “People hit the road as they return to work, and businesses ship more freight as their orders increase. IGI shows the pulse of the economy is starting to beat faster.”
Big gains were recorded in Chicago (20%), Phoenix (19%), New York (18%) and Houston (10%).
San Diego and San Antonio went in the other direction, with commuters spending 24% and 18% less time commuting year-over-year.
As annoying as commuting can be for the average citizen, the time spent behind the wheel is of course pure gold to everybody associated with the radio industry.
RBR-TVBR observation: We remember back in the day when WMAL-AM Washington when afternoon drivers Trumbull and Core gave out commuter survival kits to area drivers. Included was a picture of the locally-infamous Woodrow Wilson Bridge, suitable for throwing darts at.
WMAL clearly knew where its bread and butter was.
Radio stations of the present should remember this if they wish to be radio stations of the future.
Local broadcast radio knows where the snarls are. It knows how to pronounce road names. In the case of Washington, it understands the significance of the phrases like “Inner Loop” and “Shirley Mixing Bowl.” It knows what its listeners are actually suffering through.
Pandora and Sirius do not have a clue. Use it.