Measurement method makes the media

Fred Jacobs at Jacobs Media wishes radio folk would stop acting like children and just get this electronic passive measurement thing settled.

Mark Ramsey at Hear 2.0 illustrates how passive measurement captures single radio events as they happen creating new opportunities.

What’s the connection?

A lot of complaints people have about radio are in fact a function of the way radio is measured.

Recall is the name of the game so stations behave in a manner to make sure you remember who they are. They say stupid things like “when you hear Aerosmith . . you know you’re listening to …. ” (insert any one of the 4 radio stations you know that play Aerosmith in this town)

Radio stations aren’t really in the listener satisfaction game as much as they are in the Arbitron winning game. They are not the same game but nor are they mutally exclusive.

I’m looking forward to passive measurement mostly because I believe it will change programming. I’m not sure it will change it for the better – but I DO know that radio programming WON’T change at ALL without a change in the way ratings are measured.

Will it usher in greater musical variety? Doubtful. It could drive music on the fringe off playlists all together as PDs will be able to drill down into how marginal spice tunes effect listening.

On the plus side I suspect it could motivate a new ear era of on air EVENTS which could be great creative opportunities. It will also enable us to reduce some clutter now used to promote “awareness” and “recall”. An increase in credibilitiy with the advertising community wouldn’t hurt either (especially as the internet offers measurements far beyond anything radio can offer).

Passive Measurement is a necessary first step in what will be MANY new steps radio will need to take to modernize it business practice and product creation.

Hopfully – once the big leap into electronic measurement is made – the next necessary innovations will be easier to sell and implement.


2 Responses to Measurement method makes the media

  1. Dick Hungate says:

    Great stuff; great site, Jeff!
    This is my first exposure to it.

    Obviously, there is a substantial “native intelligence” at work here…
    not to mention sharp insight. Just the KFOG pedigree speaks for itself.

    Funny, I remember several stoney evenings with Lee Abrams back in the
    late 70’s when we discussed the fantastic San Francisco radio scene…with
    the legendary Bonnie Simmons, etc. Later, my former music director of WYSP,
    who had gone to San Francisco as a programmer (Steve Feinstein) committed
    suicide completely unexpectedly (he is the LAST person I would have expected…
    always so positive and energetic!) and I was just devastated for months. To see
    a photo of him with me and Jon Anderson of Yes…plus Fred Deane (real name
    DiSipio…Fred’s dad was a huge record promoter in Jersey/Philadelphia forever)
    just go to and click on “images” and then type in my name.
    That pic is from February of 1981…and we had just become the nation’s very
    first “classic rock” station. People thought we were nuts…but it worked to the
    point where Doug Sorenson (also no longer with us) of KQRS, Minneapolis tried
    it also within a few months. Take care, and keep up the good work. I have just
    bookmarked this site.

  2. Jeff says:

    Hey there Dick – thanks for stopping by and for sharing your comments.

    I have great respect for Lee. In fact – I have a post about him in my queue – posting sometime this week.


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