Building One Tenth of a Ratings Point

Sofa PNG

When top stations struggle to achieve a 0.5 rating, the difference between success and failure can be one tenth of a rating point. Growing your station from a 0.3 to a 0.4 (or 0.2 to 0.3 – or 0.1 to 0.2) is often the only thing that matters. That’s the premise for the NuVoodoo session at the All Access Audio Summit 2023. The conference starts on Wednesday, April 26 and our session is on Thursday, April 27, at 3 PM Eastern/12 Noon Pacific. Register now at

Carolyn Gilbert, PJ Kling, and I will walk through seven steps to help programmers generate that elusive additional tenth of a rating point. We’ll start with a quick review of the numbers that underpin AQH rating – and differentiate it from share – using real-world examples. We’ll keep close focus throughout on the reality of 2023 budgets and work to come up with low-cost (or no-cost) ways to build ratings. We’re a group accustomed to tossing over couch cushions to find money for the pizza delivery – so this is right in our wheelhouse.

It starts with understanding the numbers underneath the ratings – both cume and AQH (and, okay, share). Then it comes down to knowing the specific numbers for the ratings for your station(s) and market(s). We’ll go through it point by point – and have suggestions on how to proceed if you need assistance getting your arms around your specific situation.

Part of the task is knowing the delta between your current rating and the rating that is your target. Getting it to an exact number – knowing the necessary lift in cume and/or TSL – is key. Below is an example from a top 20 market showing numbers among Adults 25-54 for weekday prime in the February monthly.

While it’s easy for a programmer to focus on trying to get their station from a 3.7 to a 4.7 share, in the example above all that effort would yield no change in AQH rating for the sales department to use to build additional revenue. In this market example, either a 3.7 share or a 4.7 share equal a 0.3 rating. Getting accustomed to the smaller and less precise numbers in AQH rating – as opposed to AQH share – is like trying to get accustomed to setting a hotel room thermostat in a foreign country: it’s a smaller scale with fewer increments.

But there are lots of places to look in order to influence the AQH numbers for your station(s). We’ll review as many as we can in our 45 minutes. While we’re showing some example numbers, we’re deliberately keeping this session short on data slides (the only verb ever used for viewing a research presentation is “sit through”) and long on stories. Doing a walk-through last week with the little deck we’re using as background for the session, lots of great stories and examples came up from the experiences we’ve had in the business. We had a great time, and we think you will too – as well as coming away with ideas to build that next tenth of a ratings point.