QUESTION FROM A PROGRAMMING EXECUTIVE AT A MAJOR NONCOM NETWORK REGARDING MY COMPARISON OF 2000 ARBITRON DATA & 2015 PPM DATA [link to story]
What sense from research colleagues do you have about the validity of the comparisons you posted today? I’ve always been taught you can’t compare the two methodologies? Is there new thinking about that?
KEN’S COMMENTS: I asked several research colleagues and they aren’t sure about the validity of the comparisons I made. There has been speculation that some formats do better than others in PPM versus Diary. I asked veteran public radio consultant Craig Oliver’s whether he had additional information about specific performance. He said:
This is not a quick question. I don’t have the answer easily at my disposal, but you might find some format breakouts at Nielsen.com. Comparing these to 2000 may be more difficult in terms of finding differences.
I made certain to say several times in the article that Diary and PPM methodologies are different. Some of the trends may be partially due to the different system of obtaining data. However, some of the changes noted such as higher number of weekly listeners in 2015 for KPCC and KQAC seem to be because of changes in their programming. So, I’ll leave it up to the reader to decide the validity of the comparison.
QUESTION FROM "RADIO WIZARD" AARON REED REGARDING THE 2000 & 2015 COMPARISON
Cool analysis, Ken! Is there enough data to do something similar for college radio stations, too?
Thank you for the praise. I wish it was possible to do a similar comparison of estimated weekly listeners to college stations. Data is available from 2000 for many college stations because, at that time, the Radio Research Consortium (RRC) published results from noncoms that did not subscribe to the ratings.
When Nielsen acquired Arbitron a few years ago they changed the policy. Only data for subscribing stations is now published by RRC.
COMMENT FROM “ANONYMOUS” REGARDING THE CANCELLATION OF WHAD ‘YA KNOW? [link to story]
The reason Whad’ Ya Know lost so many stations is that it is old, tired, and uninspired. I didn’t think it ever was that great, there just wasn’t much else to compete for Saturday morning carriage and it takes public radio PDs forever to decide to drop a program.
Since WYK launched, This American Life, Radiolab, Ted Radio, and lots of other more compelling shows have become available. Most importantly, Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me has come along to not just steal audience, but to create a whole new audience. It is more interesting, funnier, and better produced. Even though Wait, Wait is not really live, it still has more urgency, spontaneity, and quality audience participation than WYK.
Sorry, but listeners voted with their ears long ago. Michael Feldman can be a funny and engaging host, but judging from quotes in Wisconsin media stories about the cancellation, he’s really in denial about why this show is ending.
“Anonymous” appears to be a current or recent station programmer who is very familiar with public radio landscape. His view is the same as every person I spoke with regarding WPR’s cancellation of Whad ‘Ya Know. In show biz terms, 31 years is a long time for any “act” to last. Thank you Michael Feldman for your work over the years. Turn the page, Michael.
QUESTION & COMMENTS FROM SEVERAL READERS REGARDING MY USE OF THE TERM “COLLEGE RADIO”
Here is one example:
For purposes of discussion, I would define “college radio” more as a format than an ownership schema, and would specifically exclude any CPB-funded station. But the licensee should be an accredited institution of higher education whenever possible.
“College Radio” is one of several ambiguous terms we have in our industry. Its vagueness is similar to “public radio,” “community radio," and “Triple A music.” The definition is in the mind of the beholder and my definition may be different than your definition. Here is how I define some common industry terms:
“College radio” is a station this is licensed to a university or school, primarily operated by students, often has an instructional purpose, and is typically funded all or in part by student activity fees.
“College rock” and “CMJ Rock” are college station that air contemporary rock music that is of interest to younger listeners. Frequently these stations report their playlists to College Media Journal (CMJ) a trade publication that tracks airplay on college rock stations, and use CMJ charts to determine what tunes to play.
“Community stations” are licensed to 501c3 nonprofit organizations and program advocacy shows, volunteer music shows and Pacifica programs such as Democracy Now! For example WNYC and WBAI are both licensed to nonprofit owners but I would only call WBAI a “Community station.”