According to Edison Research newly-released survey results, 9 in 10 commuters listen to traditional AM/FM radio while in their car on the way to work, with AM/FM radio easily beating out CDs (62%), own digital music files (54%) and streaming internet radio (42%) as the most common form of in-car audio during commute time.
According to the Edison Share of Ear study, commuters spend an average of 87 minutes each day listening to audio in their cars. 43% of the total sample would choose traditional AM/FM radio given only one choice, but respondents who have ever listened to streaming internet radio during their commute would stream (28%) over traditional AM/FM radio (25%).
Among those who listen to an AM/FM station that plays commercials, 29% don’t typically switch away, but 23% say they tune away immediately. Overall, 71% switch at some point during commercials: 23% tune away immediately; 25% say they listen to part of one commercial; and 23% listen to at least one commercial. Note that research released several years ago found radio delivering 93% of its lead-in audience during commercial breaks, says the report.
Interestingly, among the Edison Research respondents who listen to Pandora during their commute, 61% say they don’t switch away at a commercial break, while only 12% tune away immediately.
Commuters Response to AM/FM Radio Commercials (American adults commuting to work for more than 20 minutes or alone)
When Commercial Comes On AM/FM Radio During Commute
% of Respondents
Do not switch
Listen to at least one commercial
Listen to part of one commercial
Tune away immediately
Source: Edison Research, April 2016
Considering Internet radio, covering audio ads delivered on mobile devices, the average number of ad units per hour hovered between about 5 and 5.4 during this year, with the vast majority of these units (79-84%) being thirty seconds in length.
Internet Radio Ad Loads (2015) For 5 Radio Publishers
Ad loads per hour
Number of ad units/hour
% of Ads 30s in length
Source: Xappmeida, April 2016
According to the report, the analysis only covers audio ads delivered on mobile devices and “does not attempt to quantify the number of banner ads served during a listening session” as the vast majority of listening takes place “while the device screen is blank or not viewable.”