Since 1930 there’s been an AM radio in every automobile rolling off assembly lines. However, in the upcoming model year for the first time a car will be arriving on dealer lots with an FM-only receiver.
“It’s symbolic of the challenges facing AM broadcasters in 2012,” according to an article in Inside Radio.
The problem is fewer people are listening to AM today. In addition about 77% of AM listeners were older than 45-years-old—a demographic most marketing executives dismiss.
“The average number of Americans listening to AM radio in any given quarter hour dropped from 3.6 million to 3.4 million from fall 2011 and spring 2012, according to Arbitron data. At the same time FM use actually increased from 21 million to 21.6 million listeners. Over the course of a week AM radio does somewhat better. Arbitron says it had a weekly cume of 66.3 million, reaching 28.2 % of listeners in fall 2011.”
More than anything, the AM band has a demographic problem.
The data shows more than three-quarters (76.9%) of its listeners were above 45 years old in the spring 2012 report, according to Inside Radio. Nearly six-in-ten (57.9%) were 55 and older. A survey released in June by Mark Kassof & Co. found 9% of respondents never listen to AM radio, with many saying they haven’t flipped from FM in years.