Holy Headline!

August 9, 2006

FMQB wins the “Most Absurdly Inaccurate/Misleading or wholly Yanked out of their Bum Headline Of The Day Award” – an award I just made up – for this little ditty –

Study: Radio Ads Drive Domestic Auto Sales

August 9, 2006

A new study conducted by The Media Audit,… of 17,395 adults planning to buy a vehicle in the next year showed that better than 1 in 5 of them are heavy radio listeners.

Follow along with me now – 1 in 5 people planning to buy a car in the next year are HEAVY radio listeners.

The Media Audit also found that heavy radio listeners are skewed towards domestic vehicle purchases while heavy Internet users are skewed towards foreign vehicles.

Fact 2 – heavy radio listeners are more likely to buy a domestic car.

FMBQ conclusion – Radio Ads drive domestic car sales.


Did they forget to print the part of the study that actually proves that point?

This is another example of mistaking correlation with causality. Or – if you prefer – crap reporting.


Per Jalopnik –  Ford Motor Car is buying ad space on about 400 blogs.


The whole picture

August 1, 2006

According to an FMBQ report Media Audit proposes as part of it’s SmartPhone rating service alternative to Arbitron to track ALL radio listening-

The Media Audit/Ipsos will not censor how radio listening is reported. All radio listening will be reported on the same page, whether it is over the air, internet, podcasts or MP3 players.

Once you measure it – it’s easier to monetize.

Radio compaines will likely jump into new media full force the minute it’s usage can be measured and quantified.   They’ll also continue to avoid/ignore it as long as it’s unmeasured.
I’d personally like to see big radio out there right now – setting the standards rather than letting other disruptive technologies do it to us – forcing us to play catch-up.

The Research we’re not doing

July 31, 2006

We research songs – callout and auditorium.

We research perceptions and images within a market context.

We do format searches.

We poll with webpolls and telephone – questions about radio usage and habits.

And Smart radio stations have built loyalty clubs (or databases for you researchers) and continuously use them not only to deepen the connections with listeners – but also to keep an ear to the ground for the dreaded “creeping dissatisfaction”.

And then there’s Arbitron with their little diaries.

This is the state of radio research in 2006.

I think it’s pretty safe to say that any innovation that could have been gleened from these tried and true methods has pretty much already been . . .uhh, gleened.

In other words – these are great tools to find out how well what we’re already doing is working. But we’re probably not going to get many new ideas from them.

The one thing about radio research that that always distresses me – is that it removes radio from it’s proper real life context.

We take people out of their cars, homes and places of work, away from their radios and how they actually use them, bring them into a room with other strangers and ask them questions about how they used the radio when they’re back in real life.


The research we’re NOT doing is empirical research. We’re not actually out OBSERVING how people use radio – IN THE CAR, AT HOME, AT WORK.

Take the example of Bank Of America. Not unlike radio – there really hasn’t been anything NEW in financial services for decade.

So when Bank Of America wanted to find ways to increase new accounts – they didn’t JUST bring people into conference rooms to ask them “what would make you open a new account?”. They went out and OBSERVED what REAL people do in REAL life.

What they discovered was how many people were rounding checks up to the next whole dollar. Coupled with the complaint that many people just didn’t know how to save money, Bank Of America created dozens of “products” tested them and kept the best – which is their Keep The Change Program. Use your debit card for everyday purchases and they round up the amount to the next highest dollar and stick the difference into a savings account.

The thing is – it’s not an idea they would have come up with sitting around with a focus group or pouring over reems of data. It took actually SEEING people in their normal lives.

We may think we already know how people use radio (we have the diaries!) -and perhaps PPM will bring more info – but I’d love Big Radio to put some money into the kind of research that actually observes people using AUDIO ENTERTAINMENT. How, why ,when, where.

I’d love to see how, when and why people make the choices they do WHILE ACTUALLY MAKING THEM – and not answering questions about it 12 hours later sitting in a fluorescent lit room with 15 strangers.




Old to New may not have a Tipping Point

July 25, 2006

So says Robert Paterson (consultant who is responsible for helping NPR re-create it’s entire organization that I blogged about here)

In his latest entry Robert says:

Until very recently, I thought that the rules of the adoption curve or the Tipping Point would apply and that eventually everyone would “get it.”

I no longer believe this to be true.

I see no signs of any airline other than AMR going the Southwest Culture route. I see no signs of the US or Israeli military matching their asynchronous opponents. I see no signs of the Commercial media other than Murdoch making a shift to true participation.

In fact I see all the signs of the establishment of Inquisitions and the choice to fail rather than to change.

This is really the way I feel when I read or hear people almost blindly defending our old methods – or using any out of context “research” or “study” to telegraph to the general radio community “everything’s ok the way it is – go back to scheduling your 10 song sets“.
Robert continues:

I think that the context that fits best for me is that of the religious wars of the 17th century. Is not Fundementalism a response to the modern commercial world? What compromise do we see there?

So this is why I see the choice so starkly. If you stay with the old, you will inevitably be destroyed by those that use these new rules.

These new rules have emerged and are now clear. So you get it or you don’t. For those that get it, you can now compete on the basis of culture and not money. You have the clear advantage.”


I’m not one to see things so starkly – truth is often vantage point specific.

I also think those that don’t currently “get it” – while at a disadvantage, when faced with extinction will change their tune and find enlightenment.

Sometimes we just need to get our asses kicked before we start self-defense training.  Yes I’m aware that’s often too late.  And that is human nature.
And while not without Fundamentalist proclivities – Business is all about the cash.  As long as there’s money in a system to be extracted – business will extract it until it’s empty and then move on to “discover” the next thing.

Yes I’m aware that’s also very often – too late.  Again, human nature.

The current system is at an . . . uh . . . what’s the word . . . . PRECIPICE. ,-)

The OLD ways are still throwing off WAAAY too much cash for most people responsible for collecting all the money to even THINK about changing a thing.

But – as Robert points out – new ways are emerging that are changing the old systems – and in many cased killing them off.  Like it or not there’s no stopping it.

I admit I’d feel more comfortable if I thought the radio industry as a whole will suddenly “get it”.  I know there’s lots of ground troops in radio that “get it” – so the question is really put to the commanders.