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June PPM Review: Sample Change Hypothesis

| July 24, 2017

By Clark Smidt
Broadcast Advisor

BOSTON — Once upon a time, anyone could look at an Arbitron book and see all results for all stations, all dayparts, all demos, shares and cume with an exact Metro and TSA sample size.

Today, having simple access to only the very broad share and cume trends from subscribers, invites conjecture and imagination.

The current Spring Diary Markets, now being released, often show just one, two or three subscribers.  A “do not sell” top-line number for ALL signals would add credibility for radio.  Let’s check a few June Portable People Meter snap shots:

PPM markets have fewer respondents – a smaller sample – than the Diary Daze.  And, we’re not exactly sure how many meters are out there nor where they are.  Diaries by zip code were available to inspect in Beltsville — each booklet contained one week’s worth of listening.  Today, we don’t know how long meters stay with the same person or an entire household.

Considering the importance of knowing more about meters changing hands, here’s one hypothesis:

Divide the number of subscribing stations in each market by the number of stations posting a change of more than a .5 share  – up or down –  during a three-month period.

Using a break point of 25% for stations showing changes of 0.5 or more, a review of 46 markets suggested a healthy April/May/June meter shuffle in 21 markets.

The Leaders for Suspected Sample Change:

53.8%             45.  Norfolk-VA Beach-Newport News, VA (7 of 33 subscribing stations show 0.5 or

greater change)

48%                 12.  Detroit (12 of 25)

44.4%              27.  Pittsburgh, PA (8 of 18)

42.9%              46.  Greensboro-WS-High Point, NC (9 of 21) and 44. Providence, RI (6 of 45)

42.3%              38.  Raleigh-Durham, NC (11 of 26)

41.6%               32. Orlando, FL (10 of 24)

Conversely, those with Suspected Minimal Sample Change Included:

2.1%                  2.   Los Angeles (1 of 48 stations show 0.5 or greater change, up or down)

4.9%                20.   Nassau / Long Island, NY (2 of 41)

5.7%                30.   Las Vegas (2 of 35)

9.1%                11.   Miami and 18. Denver (both with 3 of 33).

10.8%               5.   Dallas (4 of 37)

11.8%               9.   Philadelphia (4 of 34)

Fact or Fiction:  Does unpredictable PPM meter shuffle create audience fluctuation?

Another interesting stat was the number of HD only stations (those not partnering with an AM), vs. STREAM and LP-FM.

HD started to promote in the US around 2003 and still hopes for a jolt from more compelling product.  Plug-and-play has been a major issue vs. having to buy a separate receiver or getting a newer car with HD factory installation.

In June, 2017, only 20 markets record a total of 35 HD rated stations, producing a combined total share of 36.3.  The king of that hill is Las Vegas urban contemporary KYMT-HD2, now at 2.7.  The top HD markets are Jacksonville posting a total 6.2 share followed by Austin at 4.8.

The lone, significant Low Power FM is currently WRME-LP, Chicago “My/FM” scoring an impressive a 2.9.

As for STREAMING:  19 stations in only 6 PPM markets combine for a 4.4. total share.  Best Stream Share is hot AC KLLC with a .9 in San Jose and .5 in adjacent home market San Francisco.

FORMAT THOUGHTS:  Toughest to gain mass appeal appear to be modern rock, rock and alternative because of differences in title, artist and sound.

Classic rock and classic hits stay popular and ranging from good – better – best, depending on playlist and curation.  Adult hits is less common and in the proving stages of showing demo success.

Hot AC gets caught between the stronger mainstreams of AC and CHR.  Country remains unique and popular with different styles and demos.

News/talk has the live, local factor, with public news/talk showing more positive moves.  Sports talk also depends on the local connection, for getting an extra base hit or fouling out to the catcher.

Strong potential comes from urban AC and likely a new blend of classic crossover.

Yet to be broadcast libraries with a familiar variety of titles, consistent sound plus combining a modern presentation of information, spots and personality, will be the big winner.

Clark Smidt is a broadcast advisor.  He’s a NYC native who started in Boston broadcast management in the ‘70s (WBUR, WBZ AM/FM, CBS) and continues with customized advertising, branding, content & business development.  He can be phoned at 978 470-2120.  His website is www.broadcastideas.com

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