Current Issue:

Current Issue

On The Cover:
Cumulus Chairman Jeff Marcus

Click here to subscribe to Radio Ink.

Radio Ink Writers

Broadcasters Get Detailed Connected Car Lesson


It was standing room only at the Connected Car Super Session in Orlando, Thursday, as broadcasters try to understand where auto manufacturers are headed with the dash and what consumers want when they sit behind the wheel. Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs and Strategy Analytics Associate Director Robert Lanctot (pictured) gave an extremely detailed presentation on the topic of the connected car. The question broadcasters want to know the answer to: What should and can they do to make sure they maintain the stranglehold on the dashboard they've had for so long? We spoke to Lanctot after the presentation and asked him to help you better understand where things are headed. LISTEN HERE.

What was particularly interesting in the presentation Jacobs and Lanctot made was how difficult it is becoming for consumers -- your listeners -- to find their local radio station on all the new infotainment systems being installed by auto manufacturers. There are fewer and fewer knobs, and much more sophisticated screens already rolling out today, with many more expected in the future. Cars are truly becoming smartphones on wheels.

Where radio can make an impact is with local dealerships. That's really the mesh point or interface between the manufacturer and the consumer. And, it's where radio already has strong relationships. Some dealers are holding monthly clinics to explain to new car buyers how to use these new systems. As Fred Jacobs said, "Dealers are dancing with consumers now more than ever."


Jacobs and Lanctot had several recommendations for radio as everyone heads into this unknown territory:

- Drive a connected car. Get the experience of a connected car and understand what your listeners are dealing with.

- Partner with local dealerships. Understand their needs and what they are dealing with. Not only are they training consumers, they're training their people how to train consumers. And with turnover in the car business, it's a never-ending project. What if you were that expert?

- Attend a connected car conference. Let auto manufacturers know you are excited about this space by going to the conferences they attend.

- Rethink HD Radio. OEMs believe in HD Radio. It almost appears as though they believe in it more than some in the radio industry believe in it. HD Radio helps bring the dash to life for your station. Album art, weather, traffic, and other features are a plus if you want your spot on the future dash.

If you were to rank the three topics creating the most buzz at this year's radio show in Orlando, the connected car would certainly be one of them. Perhaps the top one. The days of an AM/FM radio with a CD player and a few knobs are long gone. The question that remains is how serious broadcasters are about making their place on the dash as compelling as those fighting for a new spot.

DASH Conference
October 23-24
Detroit, MI
Information and to register: