Auto Wi-MAX Whoop-Ti-Doo

Wi-Fi in the car has for some years now been the most popular thing us techy radio folk have both warned about and waited for.  

The thinking goes – once internet is in the car – use of the RADIO device for entertainment will decrease.

That would be bad because we radio folk currently OWN the in car environment and drive-time listening is our biggest cash cow.  

By way of Mark Ramsey at we learn about the first Auto Wi-Fi provider – AutoNet

This means soon our cars can be roaving Wi-Fi hotspots giving us and our in car passengers all the greatness the internet has to offer –  at 70mph.  

Of course the question radio folk ask – what does this mean for radio?  

First – let’s take ourselves out of “RADIO PERSON” mindset and get into “NORMAL PERSON” mindset for a minute.  In other words . . . a person for whom radio is NOT their life.  

As this normal person – imagine yourself driving to work like you always do – but now you have internet access in the car.  If you drive alone (as most of us do) what are you going to do?  

A radio person answers by saying they’re going to hunt down the internet streams of the radio stations already programmed into their radios – and maybe some out of town commercial stations and internet only stations.  


A normal person is probably going to check e-mail, sports scores, stocks, weather, traffic & news alterts while they get their 12 in a row from the radio.

So the real question is how does the KIND of media people want online change when they are in a car?   Let’s step back a second and look at the internet from desktop/laptop level.  

Alexa currently says these are the Top 100 most visited websites in the US.  

Microsoft Network (MSN)
Windows Live
CNN – Cable News Network
Microsoft Corporation
The Internet Movie Database
The New York Times
Photobucket image hosting and photo sharing
Apple Computer, Inc.
Best Buy
BBC Newsline Ticker
United States Postal Service (USPS)
Digital Point Solutions
Bank of America
Adult Friendfinder
Dell Inc.
EarthLink, Inc.
Circuit City
CBS SportsLine
AOL Instant Messenger
My Way
FOX Sports
AWeber Systems
Fox News Channel, Inc.
Washington Post
Constant Contact – Do-It-Yourself Email Marketing
The Drudge Report
BellSouth Internet Service
Yahoo! Search Marketing Solutions
Webmaster World
USA Today
Internet Archive
Chase Manhattan Bank
Hewlett-Packard Industrial Ethernet
Costco Wholesale Corporation

I don’t know about you – but I can’t see USING any of these sites in their current form as I’m driving to work.   How are you going to use Yahoo, Google and MySpace while you’re driving?  

Certainly, “audio media” over the internet will be more popular in the car than at the desktop just by virtue of the fact that a driver can’t read the NY Times online AND drive.

But the real opportunity to my eyes is in making all the sites people already love and use the most – useable, safely, to the driver of a car.  

So, where does this leave radio?  

Streaming 12 in a row of all your favorite hits of the 70s, 80s 90s, and Now with less talk along side the 10,000 other internet audio streams?  

Blogger Hugh McLeod of once wrote –

“Don’t try to stand out from the crowd – avoid crowds all together.”


3 Responses to Auto Wi-MAX Whoop-Ti-Doo

  1. Mark Ramsey says:

    Hi Jeff, these are good points. But don’t underestimate the degree to which all of this will be simplified to make it more accessible and attractive in the car. In fact, that’s the ONLY way any of this makes mobile sense at all.

    It seems to me that what I passively listen to is at the top of the list of stuff that can be delivered without distraction. So I think it actually is high on the list of things that can be provided – although low on the list of “reasons to buy”

  2. ron says:

    I think that radio will always be in use to some degree. Think of the advantage radio has over a digital signal. Or am I clueless?

    Well, anyways, I like this essay and for the most part, I really hope radio doesn’t go away. Hey, I still have a cassette player in my car. I love tapes, they have a sound quality that you just can’t get from a CD. That is, if you grew up listening to tapes.

    Anyone remember when eight-tracks were in? I had four of them, but they were really from my older sister, who is eight years older than I am.

    I guess radio will eventually be replaced.

    “…video killed the radio star…” The Buggles

  3. I am searching for an internet car radio. I’m not sure if such an animal is now available for the consumer. I am and avid music lover and find it limited to the choices I have in the city inwhich I live. I’m started a small business to get the wireless radios in the homes of people who enjoy options in their listening choices.

    I’m currently doing research. I’ve been reading “Eric Klineberg’s Fighting for Air, The Battle To Control America’s Media. Please feel free to e-mail me.

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