"It's the programming, stupid!"

Garrett Wollman wollman@bimajority.org
Sat May 19 22:17:07 EDT 2012

<<On Sat, 19 May 2012 17:15:55 -0400, Donna Halper <dlh@donnahalper.com> said:

> Prior to PPM, WBZ ruled the ratings.  I am still trying to figure out 
> what there is about PPM that has been so detrimental to stations like 
> WBZ.  It's still a powerhouse, but doesn't seem to get the kind of 
> numbers it once did.  I'd love to hear some hot theories.

The most common theories that I've hward, from various sources:

1) Brand awareness: WBZ (or in general $HERITAGE_STATION) is a
well-known brand, and was erroneously getting diary credit from people
who were listening to other stations because that was the brand that
THOUSAND WATTS OF POWER! and all.  I remember hearing about diaries
claiming that the panelist was listening to Rush on WBZ, for example.

2) Anchoring: the diary, as you know, was based on quarter-hours, but
since nearly everyone has had a digital-synthesized tuner for a couple
of decades now, people change stations much more often.  Panel members
were instructed to report the station they listened to for at least
7-1/2 minutes out of the quarter hour, but they may not recall that
they only listened to WBZ for four minutes at the top of the hour and
then flipped between two other music stations for the rest of the
drive home, because they "always" put on WBZ's "Traffic on the 3's"
when leaving work, but aren't necessarily thinking of anything
specific when they listen to the other stations.

3) Program awareness: a panelist may know that a particular program
that he likes runs for some time and may misrecall how much of the
program he actually listened to, giving the station credit for more
TSL than was actually earned.  (Doesn't apply so much to WBZ, but I've
heard this as an explanation for a precipitous drop in the ratings of
a certain conservative bloviator in central Florida.  Diary panelists
were listening to the opening monologue of the show but then reporting
having listened to the whole hour or more.)


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