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Drive time is the daypart analog to prime time for radio broadcasting. It consists of the morning hours when listeners wake up, get ready, and/or head to work or school, and the afternoon hours when they are heading home and before their evening meal. These are the periods where the number of listeners is highest and, thus, commercial radio can charge the most for advertising. A related term is rush hour.

The exact times vary: morning drive-times typically include 6-10 a.m.; afternoon drive-times typically include 3-7 p.m. These are the time slots as defined by Arbitron for audience measurement.

Mainstream stations employ high-status presenters for drive time shows. Examples include BBC Radio 1 who have Chris Moyles(on air in the morning) and Scott Mills (on air in the evening), and BBC Radio 2 who have Sir Terry Wogan (on air in the morning) and Chris Evans (on air in the evening).

Drive time often includes a heavier run of traffic report, for which many stations employ their own helicopter or hire a third-party traffic reporting service.

For popular music-oriented stations, morning drive-time is typically dominated by the "morning zoo" genre of radio program, with the afternoon portion is often given over to music (often in commercial-free blocks, especially in markets with long commute times) and light entertainment features. For news/talk stations, drive-time is characterized by regular news updates, as well as extremely frequent updates on traffic and weather forecasts to help commuters get to and from work. Primary news talk radio stations are almost always local during this time period.

In the United Kingdommarker and Australia, the term "drivetime" is used almost exclusively to refer to the peak evening period (most commonly 16.00–19.00); the term used for the period of peak morning listening is "breakfast".

Drivetime is also a sub-genre of music generally allied with the power ballad, and consisting of music deemed especially suitable for listening to while driving. Commonly advertised in compilations, the genre is usually associated with record labels K-TEL and Time-Life.

Examples of drivetime songs include "Hazard" by Richard Marx, "Drive" by The Cars and "Broken Wings" by Mr. Mister.


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