Good News & Bad News about Likely Ratings Responders

In the latest NuVoodoo Ratings Prospect Study we’re again seeing the good news about likely PPM participants – as well as the not-so-good news. As we’ve reported previously, likely PPM participants use more radio than those who would likely eschew the offer of a meter. The self-assessed numbers in our study show PPM Likelies coming close to the Nielsen-reported figure of 93% using Broadcast Radio.


82% of the PPM Likelies in our data say they listen to at least 5 minutes of radio in a typical day. You can imagine easily that the additive impact of weekly listening and unintentional exposure to radio would boost our number to match the Nielsen figure. Those who fall outside the likely PPM sample use less radio. When the initial letter prospecting for sample mentions “an important study about radio and television,” it stands to reason that people who use less of those services would disproportionately ignore the opportunity to participate.

And it also makes sense that these compliant, media-using souls would use disproportionately more of other available services to get the music, entertainment and/or diversion they want. We asked about Pandora specifically as well other non-broadcast streaming in our study. What we’re seeing totals up to a significant headwind for all music formats – especially during the workday, when Broadcast Radio’s offerings are most likely to sound fairly similar to those of the streamers (lots of music, not much else).

Those headwinds are being felt during the workday, particularly by stations targeting younger women (and African Americans) and result in decreased PUMM levels in those demos and dayparts.


It seems to us that there are a few ways Broadcast Radio might fight these headwinds:

  • Use promotions and contesting to try to win increased occasions and TSL from those who might otherwise “stray” to Pandora or other streaming. Our experience has been that this works, but like steroid injections, the effects eventually wear off – and the pain and/or decreased performance resumes.
  • Drastically reduce spotloads, at least during periods when PUMM is increasing, to make commercial interruptions more competitive with the streamers.
  • Offer up and promote your own lower-inventory stream(s), especially if it’s a matter of giving an alternative to your own talky, but high-performing morning show. In essence, attacking yourself, in hopes of keeping the ears one way or another.

No doubt there are other tactics to be employed and smart broadcasters will find them. But, the critical part is to take action.