Saturday, January 12, 2008

New Research Tool: PPM Minute-by-Minute

32° - overcast at 11:15pm

Friend or foe?
R&R reporting this weekend of a new product in development by RCS/Media Monitors:

"...a revolutionary new Web-based product with the working name of Audience Response. By combining real-time airplay data from Media Monitors with corresponding minute-by-minute audience information from Arbitron’s Portable People Meter (PPM), programmers can view an electronic graph of their audience flow."

"Clicking on listening spikes or dips in the graph triggers playback of the audio that aired at that precise time, offering insights into how specific programming elements affect actual audience behavior".

In the R&R story - Dwight Douglas of the company compares such data to Wal-Mart's ability to "quickly analyze what’s selling and what’s not".

Read the entire R&R piece

I've always begged for all the research I could get my hands on. And a tool like the one described above is one just about any programmer (at one time or another) could only dream of having in his or her arsenal.

But - as Mr. T might say: I pity the fool who will program every minute of his radio station based on the galvanic skin response-like data available from this "electronic graph".

I can already picture in my head some over-zealous PD using this data in a minute-by-minute aircheck session with an air talent; or a like GM in a meeting with his PD. Yipes!

If it happens - be it at the station across town.

Mark Ramsey wrote
here this past week:

"Forgive me for saying the obvious: Any programmer who "programs by instinct" without taking advantage of listener feedback is a fool. And any programmer who has no instinct and depends utterly on what the audience tells them is likewise a fool."

The meeting of art and science. There is a balance. But you knew that.

In his weekly blog post this week - Lee Abrams writes about the need for radio to evolve from "radio speak" back to "street speak". A great post here. In it - Lee makes this observation - very relevant to this conversation:

"In the 80s and 90s, most radio stations evolved from "Street Talk" to "Radio Speak"......The Most, The Best, Home of, The New, etc... It was part of the data revolution that just went too far! It helped create a very sterile sound."

Kind of scary, yes? Only we can prevent radio from becoming "sterile".

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