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Monday, June 10, 2024

Radio ratings less reliable than political polling

Radio ratings are worthless.  They really are!

The number of listeners measured by radio ratings leader are insignificant.  It claims to be scientific, but the sample sizes are so small that they can't accurately reflect who's really listening.  

So we tell our advertisers something simple.  Do you REALLY care about how many people listen?  Or do you care about how many people come into your business from advertising?  

Our late CEO Fred Weinberg carried off quite the stunt back in 1985.  In Tulsa, his station KELI offered $14.30 to each person who surrendered his or her Arbitron diary to the station. Listeners also were asked to write in “KELI” on every line on these surrendered diaries. KELI, which is not an Arbitron subscriber (even though its ratings are included in Arbitron’s listings), promised to send the completed diaries to Arbitron.

What happened?  Read on past the break...

Arbitron sued for over $60,000,000 in Federal Court, and as far as I've ever been able to find, nothing ever happened.  The point is this.  Thousands of listeners are represented by a single ratings book.  It's so horrible that in many markets, ratings books that land in the hands of ethnic minorities are given more weight - count for more in their figures - than non-minorities.  Yet billions of dollars in national advertising are based on these "fictitious" ratings. 

The only numbers that matter is who do we get through the door.  Make your offer appealing.  Ask yourself, would you drive across town to take advantage of the offer that you're making?  I had one potential client say they'd make a small buy and offer 5% off to everyone that mentioned the station.  I told them if they would make it 50% off I'd do that.  They balked.  The 5% was a way to prove that radio advertising didn't work.  The 50% would prove that it did.  We eventually didn't get the business.  And guess what?  They were back to advertise their "Going Out of Business" sale. 

Ratings don't matter.  Results do.  And that's where radio shines. 

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