Washington Post - take 2 on Rush ratings

Mark Laurence marklaurence@mac.com
Sat Mar 7 16:19:45 EST 2009

Interesting development in today's Washington Post: a lengthy article on Arbitron ratings and how impossible it is to back up claims for national talk show hosts and their audiences.  Michael Harrison ("Talkers" Magazine) was interviewed further and stood by his "guess" of 14 million Rush listeners.  Then, he defended his "estimate" of 25 million listeners after the Rush news this week, "based on his discussions with program directors around the country."  That's a great source for accuracy!  

Then he goes on.  "It's what we're hearing, based on the e-mails, the calls, all the buzz this controversy is generating. We put a little bit of our interpretation on it, added it all up, and that puts you in the ballpark."

So this 25 million audience figure, an astounding growth of 78% that's bound to be quoted as "according to the Washington Post" is actually based on one guy's assessment of "buzz."  

By the way, WRKO's January 2009 PPM 25-54 midday numbers are exactly the same as the Fall 2008 book, which are down 10% from one year before that.  I know better than to try to extrapolate national numbers out of that, but there's certainly no evidence there of buzz for Rush.

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