Moneyball: A New Study Coming with New Information


The 23rd in our series of twice-annual Ratings Prospects Studies has just finished fielding. In the weeks ahead we’ll be sharing the latest results first with clients and then more widely across the industry. While we track results on some points we’ve asked before, first party data is a major focus of this new study. We’ll be showing the most powerful tactics to establish and build first-party relationships among radio listeners, format partisans, and those likely to participate in the ratings.

We believe data-based decisions are better decisions, so we regularly share key findings with all broadcasters, and not simply those who choose to do business with us. It’s our way of giving back to a business we love and a future we’re very much invested in helping preserve.

We think station marketing should have pinpoint focus on those most likely to participate in the ratings, but this new study shows that those likely to participate in the ratings are becoming a narrower target. In our latest data, the percentage of radio listeners who predict they and members of their household would jump through all the hoops to be a Nielsen household drops five points, from 22% in our Q3 2023 study to 17% now. That’s among an overall sample of over 3,000 14-54s nationwide who’ve completed an online interview and shows the uphill battle Nielsen faces with precious respondents.

As with our study in Q3 2023, too many bad songs remains a reason many respondents say they change stations – slightly worse than commercial breaks in general. But we found a new worst tune-out creator when we added a prompt about commercial breaks that go on too long: nearly half our sample of radio listeners and about 3 in 5 among those likely to participate in the ratings (labeled “RPS Yes” in the table).

You may not have an impact on the placement or length of commercial breaks. However, with the right tools, programmers can help talent and can avoid playing bad songs. For music radio, getting everything just right is incredibly important. Finding ways to spend less on research while still getting accurate information is like being able to toss in 50 cents at the start of the hand while other players toss in a dollar at the poker table. NuVoodoo offers library testing starting at less than $10K all in. An email to or gets you deeper details.

We think research should focus on the population most likely to help give you lift in the ratings, while not becoming so restrictive that a station loses rank when panelists or diarykeepers change. As a contrast, we think marketing should have pinpoint focus on those most likely to participate in the ratings – to make your next book great. And we think digital should help you make money through higher ratings, greater sales, or e-commerce.

Meanwhile, we’re counting down the research mistakes we see being made too often in a webinar series available at