Radio across Europe joining forces to fight for rightful place in the car

15th February 2024
Radio across Europe is joining forces to fight for its rightful place in the car, and Swedish Radio is leading the effort. In a statement on the occasion of UNESCO’s World Radio Day*, UNESCO, AER and EBU highlight the importance of radio being available to everyone everywhere, including in the car. Tomas Granryd, responsible for digital partnerships at Sveriges Radio, writes about the upcoming work with radio in the car that the EBU will carry out.
Blank screen on a car dashboard.
Blank Modern Car's Display Screen. Credit: nui7711 /

This blog was originally published on Swedish Radio and is republished with permission. 

By Tomas Granryd, Responsible for Digital Partnerships at Swedish Radio

Radio is by a good margin the most loved and used medium in the car. On the road, people choose the radio approximately 70 percent of the time, which is more than all other audio sources combined. If you ask the audience, the thing that attracts the most is the simplicity – a push of a button and you’re up and running – it’s live, it’s happening here and now. Plus, you don’t have to make a bunch of choices, professional radio makers have done the mixing for you – a flow that is hopefully relevant and good for this particular moment.

In addition, broadcast is stable and reliable. When everything else goes down, the radio is often left as the last medium that can deliver vital information in a crisis situation.

Read more: Radio, The Trusted Guide in a Changing World (Statement)

But despite its popularity with the public, it can be difficult to find the radio in modern cars. Too often the radio is hidden behind a confusing maze of buttons and menus. Or radio is listed along with connectivity standards such as USB and Bluetooth.

We need to work together across the industry to ensure that audiences can easily find the radio they love.

We are proud of the large audience we reach in the car via the radio. But we’re just as proud of our app. Our app offers breadth and depth and with that the possibility of finding rich content just for you. Sveriges Radio Play has everything – all our linear radio channels, news, music and podcasts. We are seeing a slow movement of the public to listen to audio via apps in the car. We want to facilitate that movement**.

Although we can offer a world of beloved content through our app, streaming services, often the apps of global giants that cost money, are given a better position on the dashboard. The most trusted sources have become harder to find – at a time when trust really matters.

The new project, The Playbook, an initiative from Swedish Radio. Credit: Swedish Radio.

In addition, voice control in the car will with great certainty become increasingly important. Voice will likely become an established way of starting and controlling various things in the car – precisely because it is traffic safe as you can keep your eyes on the road. Today, there is no regulation or consensus regarding how voice control should interact with services in the car. Are the big streaming giants going to get priority when you ask for a podcast with the voice? Or start the song called “P3” in Spotify when you ask with your voice to hear the P3 Morning Show on the way to work. If we do nothing in this area, there is a big risk that the big giants will take a clear position in this area.

In short, as a radio industry, we need to act together to get enough power.

At the initiative of Sweden Radio, public service companies in Europe have agreed to create a common, clear map of what is required of all involved parties, so that the audience can continue to easily find and listen to the content they love.

We need to work together across the industry to ensure that audiences can easily find the radio they love.

The project is called The Playbook and the key word for the project is collaboration – all parts of the chain, the car industry, operating systems, app stores and the radio industry must work together.

I have been given the exciting and important task of part-time running this project on behalf of the EBU. The mission is to unite the radio industry and with one voice hold talks with the car industry in order to create the best conditions for us in a future connected car.

It is therefore imperative that our content is easy to find in a connected car. We must jointly ensure that radio channels, music, podcasts and news continue to have the obvious and prominent place in the car that it deserves.

Credit: Micke Grönberg/Swedish Radio

About the author

Tomas Granryd is responsible for digital partnerships at Swedish Radio.

Our thanks to Swedish Radio for providing this report. It was originally published on Swedish Radio.