How do you choose the best radio station for your passenger?

How do you choose the best radio station for your passengers?

Guest contributor Mike from Southern California shares his tips on radio play for passengers and what works the best for him. 

Silence is golden, or so they say but, is it really that great when you’re a car with a stranger? If you’re a new Uber or Lyft driver you may not realize just yet how awkward it can be to drive with a passenger only to have neither of you talking. Here’s how having the radio on can not only help give your passengers a great experience but also make your time on the road fly by.

Beginning a conversation isn’t always the easiest thing and there are plenty of times when the passenger simply does not want to converse. There is nothing wrong with that and the more you drive the more you’ll see, certain people just want to get from point A to point B with as little interaction as possible.

When you accept a fare you’re not sure who will be waiting for you at the start location. It could be a lively older person that has stories they’re just waiting to tell. You could also encounter the introvert college student that just wants to tap away on his phone and couldn’t care less that about the downtown scene (unless of course Yelp says it’s the new hotspot).

This is where having the radio on helps to lessen the awkwardness and, in some cases, makes it seem like the trip is going faster than reality. Everyone has their own preferences about the types of music they like to listen to while in the car. One thing you have to realize though, when you pick up a passenger, it’s now their car. Sure, you can listen to what YOU want but, remember, you are being judged the moment you pull up to the location.

You have to consider how they will rate you based solely on the radio station. You can get them to their destination fast, offer them gum, etc. but, if for some reason they don’t like you radio station, forget about it.

Unfortunately, the rating system is heavily flawed, but we will get into that another time. For now, let’s talk about music selection. Here are some tips:


Read the crowd. In a way, you want to be able to select the format before they even get into the car. But how can you do that? How can you read someone’s mind or not seem like you are profiling them because of how they look? It’s actually really easy. Base it off of your surroundings.

By that I mean, is it morning? If that’s the case you’re more than likely going to get rides that involve business activities such as airports, conventions, etc. Choose something light, maybe a classic rock station. Maybe it’s mid-afternoon. People are getting coming in from somewhere else, getting out of conventions/ meetings, maybe heading to work. Try something a little more upbeat.

Or, maybe it’s later in the evening. You’re most likely going to be driving people to the bars/ clubs. In that case try some Top 40. Get them in the mood to party before they get to the actual party.

There is also the option to connect your phone to your radio and allow the passenger to become their own personal DJ. Many cars are not equipped with an accessible auxiliary input therefore this option may not be suited for you and your situation.

Myself, personally, have only had one passenger that had that option anyway but they were singing along to my station so I wouldn’t worry too much about using it at this point. My advice, from personal experience, select a radio station that plays 80’s to 2000’s hits.

Anyone and everyone can relate regardless of age, gender, background, etc. Many of today’s popular songs are derived from older songs and older hits are enjoyed regularly therefore it’s a can’t miss. But, remember, use the radio as background, don’t let it overpower the experience and, who knows, you may get tipped for your music selection!

Mike, the latest guest contributor to the SherpaShare blog, is ride-share driver in Southern California who recently decided to document his experiences with riders and the road, sharing stories and insight to common occurrences drivers face. He’s the latest guest contributor His tales of the road can be followed on

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