WCRB to simulcast on 88.7 in R.I.

Bill Smith brscomm@yahoo.com
Sat Jun 4 13:41:01 EDT 2011

My results aren't typical since I'm on the road most of the day and can listen.
Compensation base was $5 and went up to $15 which is what I got most months.
I'm an active listener. I don't know how often the PPM took samples, but I might 
change a dozen times in an hour.


From: Mark Laurence <marklaurence@mac.com>
To: Garrett Wollman <wollman@bimajority.org>
Cc: boston Radio Interest <boston-radio-interest@bostonradio.org>
Sent: Fri, June 3, 2011 8:23:41 PM
Subject: Re: WCRB to simulcast on 88.7 in R.I.

On Jun 3, 2011, at 6:18 PM, Garrett Wollman wrote:

> <<On Fri, 03 Jun 2011 19:04:41 +0000 (GMT), Mark Laurence 
><marklaurence@mac.com> said:
>> PPM ratings for the most recent month in Boston show:
>> 94.1% of people age 18-24 cumed radio in April.  They listen an average
>> of 10 hours 15 minutes a week.
> I'm generally pretty suspicious of these numbers, for three reasons:
> (1) The sample is very small, particularly when sliced down into
> narrow demos like this.

I'll agree when you are ranking individual stations and dayparts.
The sample size can't be depended on to tell you accurately who's
in 5th or 6th place, 18-24 males, 10A-3P, for a single week.

But for a massive number like total market listening cume, the PPM
should be fairly accurate, especially considering that the number
doesn't vary too much from week to week over the course of a
year.  It's obvious that an extremely high number of young listeners
spend hours every week with radio.

> (2) The sample is highly biased.  What non-user of radio is likely to
> agree to participate?  How much compensation is Arbitron even offering
> these days?  (Is it still $5?)  For a lot of young people, that's not
> nearly enough to get them to carry a pager-sized device with them
> wherever they go.  How does Arbitron even identify the sample?

Bill said he got $5 a month, but I've heard of payments much higher
for younger demos and hard-to-get ethnic groups.  Plus, Arbitron
chooses entire families to participate, so a household might earn
several hundred dollars for taking part.  I do agree there's probably
a bias against non-listeners.  If you consistently sent reports of
zero listening, you'd probably get kicked off.  But that doesn't
exclude low-level listeners who would drag down the average TSL
(now called Average Weekly Time Exposed), and 7-10 hours of
average listening is still a hefty amount.

> (3) People are exposed to radio in many different places over which
> they may have little or no control.  They can hardly be said to be
> listening in this situation.

As an advertiser or a programmer, you don't really care if the
listener LOVES the program, your goal is to get them to hear the
program and the ads that accompany it.  But that's the way it's
always been, except with diaries you had to get listeners to
remember the call letters.  Now, you're getting a more accurate
count of who's in the room, hearing the radio and the ads.  It
doesn't really matter if they have control over the radio dial.  One
goal of programming for PPMs is to create a station that dial-
owners (in stores, workplaces, etc.) will play for captive audiences.

Of course they don't hear every word, just like a Sunday Globe
reader might toss out a section without reading it, or an
American Idol viewer might fast-forward the DVR or head
for the bathroom.  Actually, passive listeners are much more
likely to be exposed to an entire ad than people who are sitting
next to the button on the car radio, so maybe an advertiser wants
them even more.

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