Why AM/FM Crushes Pandora in the Car


NEWPierreBouvard#1The debate continues to draw interest between those who say listener tune-out during commercials remains high and other others who dispute that.

Edison Research last week showed some drivers switch AM/FM stations 22 times per commute on average. Avoiding commercials drives some of that behavior.

Pandora then said avoiding the song that’s currently playing drives some of that station-switching too, with nearly 60% of commuters who say they want a connected car for their next vehicle so they can listen to digital streams easier and hear what they want on-demand.

Now, Cumulus Media and Westwood One Chief Marketing Officer Pierre Bouvard points to the current management changes at Pandora, and says they’re not authorities on in-car listening.

AM/FM crushes Pandora in the car because AM/FM has a 72% share of in-car listening compared to Pandora’s 1%, according to Bouvard, citing Edison Research.

“Pandora wishes they were used in-car,” says Bouvard, noting YouTube and Spotify are nipping at their heels.

Bouvard also points out AM/FM actually retains 93% of the lead-in audience during spot breaks, based on nearly 18 million commercial breaks studied by Arbitron/Nielsen and Media Monitors.

And the number of listeners who switch channels has been exaggerated, according to Bouvard, who points to 74% of in-car listeners who say they mostly keep the radio tuned to one station or only switch occasionally.


  1. I am very happy with my SiriusXM radio in the car, and wish I had an office window so I could listen at work (like at my old office). Not only are commercials becoming incessant- I am a “rock guy” and simply cannot stand hearing Stevie Nicks all day long!

  2. We live in a consumer driven choice world right now and it is not surprising that people want more of what like and less of what they don’t like. I do hope radio is paying attention before it is too late.

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