Today: PPM Radio Ratings Shakeup No Laughing Matter


Radio will never be the same…

The advent of PPMs, portable people meters – electronic devices replacing handwritten diaries used by Arbitron to gage radio listener’s actual habits – have turned the media world upside down these past two years.

Stations and personalities that loomed large and walked tall have been humbled.

While wallflowers mired in Cinderella-like shadows have been tongue-kissed like frogs, rising to star-like status.

The winners, KCFX FM, KCMO FM and 97.5 The Vibe – love PPMs. They’re on Cloud 9, doing fine.

The opposite being the case for Urban stations like KPRS FM.

So with millions of dollars on the local line, let’s take a look…the good and the bad (I’ll leave the ugly to commenters) of today’s PPM radio ratings world….

"The good side is it really does record real listening," says one local radio exec. "So in reality, it’s real listening, not recalled listening. In a diary you usually fill it out and you kind of recall. And if you have a favorite station, you just write down that station. So it’s not real listening."

Trouble is, with diaries, Arbitron participants loosey-goosey ways can result in startling results.

"You could literally see a station go from a 10 share in one month to a 2 share the next, depending on the way people filled out their diaries. I had it happen to me. And it wasn’t going from Christmas music to something else – it was going from the same thing to the same thing."

Here’s what critics claim is wrong with PPMs.

"The problem with the PPMs is you get real listening but the sample is much smaller because they’re so expensive. So you don’t get those wobbles like you used to and that’s the good news."

Now the bad.

"We used to think people listened to just 3 radio stations. But what we found out (with PPMs) was they listen to 5 to 6 stations. So it’s had a negative impact on ratings. A ratings point is 1 percent of the population. A share is 1 percent of the radio listenership."

Translation:  a station may pull a 10 share – 10 percent of people listening – but if they’re listening to twice as many stations it can cut the time they spending listening by half.

"So it’s dilluted the time spent by listeners, and air personalities don’t seem as important as music formats."

The big losers in PPM ratings are Hispanic and urbans stations and air personalities.

Example: the PPM ratings for the morning show on one local station – under the diary system – plunged from double that of other day parts on the station to approximately the same.

It’s a brave new world out there, folks…

Speaking of brave, a ratings surprise appears likely for the new 24/7 Comedy 102.5 FM.

Where past KC comedy stations on the AM band languished at 1 shares or less, the early returns on 24/7 Comedy point to a 4.5 share in adults ages 25 to 54. That’s a full point above News Radio 980 KMBZ, the second-higest billing station in the marketplace!

Stay tuned…
This entry was posted in Hearne_Christopher and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Today: PPM Radio Ratings Shakeup No Laughing Matter

  1. harley says:

    don’t you listen to me. Get glazer to write more booty stories.
    and you shut up….cause you’RE WRONG AGAIN

  2. not a radioman anymore says:

    Hearne is absolutely right, the PPM’s have shown the light on the 3 card monty game known as Radio. Morning TV has kicked morning radio’s ass, with most of the real listening being done 10a-3p, the new #1 daypart, afternoon second and Saturday midday third.

  3. Ptolemy says:

    I was a PPM-wearer for about 6 months last year. Royal pain in the ass, and not worth the paltry change they ultimately pay you.

  4. Super Dave says:

    What about the stations that screw themselves for listeners
    I was going to let 99.7 The Point have a try to see if they could keep me as a listener and when I mentioned a little news as well be nice on their website they responded with if I wanted news listen to 980 KMBC instead. Then when I said 20 second of news and weather an hour isn’t to much to ask for they kicked me off their website.

    They don’t need PPM’s to tell them people are litening to more than one station they try and make you listen to more than one station or force you to another station.

    Radio stations can whine all they want in the end they are victims due to their own stupidity.

    Least PPM’s show what people are really listening to. Not 99.7 The Point I bet

  5. randyraley says:

    One theory about the morning radio plunge is in order for the PPM meters to work, they must be unplugged from their charger where they are kept overnight. Research has shown that people will grab them and unplug them on their way out to work or wherever, so if a person DOES listen to the radio in the house, it won’t be counted. Still, a flawed methodology considering the billions of dollars that hang in the balance.

  6. Super Dave says:

    But Randy
    Well yes that may be true Randy but then a lot of us as well are listening to Internet radio such as your listeners are with you and I am listening to Kelly Urich’s

    So as I understand PPM’s they don’t monitor internet activity.

    So I don’t really think the flaw money wise is as great as you say it is.

    Then morning radio plunge is because people are going else where to get what they want.

  7. Hearne Christopher says:

    You’re spot on about the money, Randy. I had to fight the urge to use the “B” word and stick with millions, only because I wanted the focus to be on local radio, not national.

    However, because of the cost, many (if not most) markets still use the old diary system.

  8. craig glazer says:

    These New Ratings Are mostly BS
    Simpy put I do most of these stations live, I see the phones light up or not. Not only for my comics but concert giveaways,free dvd’s,call for tix to a festival on and on….you can see who has the most listeners by the phones lighting up, the energy of the listeners…and from my plus l5 years doing this weekly and daily…98.9 morninings with Dare are crushing, huge, Mix is very very good, Q l04.3 does very nicely…when I am on KMBZ with Shanon and Parks everywhere I go for a week people stop and say, “heard you KMBZ…blah, blah,” I don’t want to put some stations down, but when I did say KCMO not much energy from that station…good guys but little attention to the shows I did anyways..but I stood by and listened to others on those days and same thing…

    I think this PPM is awful cause it makes some stations look way better than they are and good ones worse….I don’t know the answer, but don’t think PPM is it, too all over the road, how has them, age, do they use them all the time, it just doesn’t add up from these reported numbers…it just doesn’t.

  9. harley says:

    if you’re an advertiser you don’t want those mooches. The phones light up from the mooches wanting free dvds/tickets/
    anything free…and people in business don’t want them in their business…because they aint got no money.
    Dare does well because he’s been consistnet and he’s got a huge following…but he also has no
    competition…lets be honest.
    the rock has lots of listeners…half aint got a pot to piss in…and some have some money…but its
    a lifestyle station…you sell cars…cycles…beer….rock n roll….fast food….you’re on there…
    and their audeine is so broad…
    but all the numbers are way off…people under 40 arent listening to the radio anymore…ipads..players…
    etc…they don’t need the crap on the radio…unless of course its got a talk personality like bz/whb/
    I will be printing my analysis of the media in kc soon…so look for my complete intenisve analysis that
    tells the realy story. thanks.

  10. not a radioman anymore says:

    Craig you have little understanding of demographics, it is not a big revelation that the youth stations respond to free shit, however the older listener with money that chooses KMBZ is not so eagar to get free tickets, if the product is worth it they will pay, if not, free is just shit. The PPM has shown a drop in time spent listening by station, that with increased cumes, shows for real what the radio consumer has done for years, search for the best of the moment song, who is playing my favorite tune. The Point is trying to replicate the on-line listening experiance with commercials, there for no news. If you want news on cable you go to the news channel, you don’t expect Bravo to list the daily killings do you?

  11. craig glazer says:

    Good Point
    I agree, Dare is unique, he can still bring it, the rest is well a matter of time before it ends. YOu are right. Again online has it all, radio is doomed, so are everything but TV.

  12. craig glazer says:

    Sports Talk will live on
    Sports talk and the few Dare types will stick around, Dare cause he’s funny and real,sports cause its all we have left for our heros, and we need to express our anger with them daily. Ala Nick Wright, KK and Soren

Comments are closed.