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Albright: PPM Data Makes A Lot of Sense

In our second day of our week-long series focusing on Arbitron's Portable People Meter, we spoke with respected veteran programmer Jaye Albright about the device. Albright is a 45-year broadcaster with a experience in all areas of programming, research, sales and management, including programming stints in Seattle, San Jose, Bakersfield, Anaheim and Tucson. Albright says with the PPM, programmers must understand that every quarter hous matters, now more than ever. She adds "it's the rare talent who really understands what a different mindset toward content and prep that requires."

- What is your impression on how things have changed going from the diary to the PPM?
The biggest change of many is the fact that in diaries one "listening occasion" got you six or seven quarter hours of listening, because folks in the sample wrote more listening than they actually did to things that they remembered.  One of the seven pages of the average diary may not have even had anything at all written on it.  In PPM, the game includes all 504 quarter hours from 6:00 am Monday to Midnight Sunday and you need above average listening in as many of those quarter hours as possible, certainly more than your direct competition.  PPM shows a lot more listening to radio than we ever say in all but a very small number of very heavy user diaries and that's good, but realizing that EVERY quarter hour matters, every day, every week is a huge change that I have been preaching to all of A&O's PPM market clients for years now, but until it hits you personally it's the rare talent who really understands what a different mindset toward content and prep that requires.

- Do you think the listeners notice a change at all over the way programmers program?
No, I don't.  They still use radio just as they always have, primarily in the background of their busy lives.  The new challenge for personalities is to learn to stand out from the noise in everyone's life in positive and engaging ways which drive more regular usage.  Radio, on average, continues to satisfy listeners by meeting their expectations as we always have.  Perceptual research proves this over and over, and the fact that above average usage isn't being driven doesn't matter to the listener, whose favorite stations have always been "seek" and "scan."  Once upon a time, a great marketing tactic was to find 'em, fool 'em and forget 'em.  PPM actually makes radio better for the listener as we all pursue more usage by watching how they behave as they listen to us.

- What is your advice to programmers on how to maximize ratings for the PPM?
Look at a graph of your station's average minute audience over multiple weeks.  Look at the "down" time periods, which perform lower than your average.  Study what you and your shared cume competition do at those times.  Smooth out the valleys in your listening and grow the size of your down average minutes to the level of the highest ones. 

- Is the system more accurate or not? Why or why not?
Reliable or accurate?  Accurate, statistically, is subject to statistical laws based on sample size and when the difference between two radio stations is just eight meters, of course, accuracy is quite variable due to that small sample size.  More different people have been represented in the diary sample, so when you aggregate a two year trend of diaries, the reliability is more stable due to that factor, but since diary placement and return have gotten ore and more difficult, that is becoming less and less true.  PPM panel management and cooperation rates are an inexact science and require more of a human touch, which of course introduces a different kind of bias that what we have gotten used to. 

Do women really use less radio than men?  Or, do they just wear the meter for less time?  More research needs to be done on that and carriage patterns need to be compared with the many other types of meters being used around the world to see what is going on there.  Female listening to radio is too important to under-report it for any reason. When the "meter" is imbedded in cell phones and sample placement is less expensive so that panel sizes can be more representatively proportional, I am sure that the data will be more "accurate" than is it now, but you cannot deny that PPM data makes a lot of sense in terms of real human behavior and unless you have NO meters in the sample, you can always increase your number of days or week and times per day to grow your ratings by getting to know the people who use your radio station in numerical ways we never had in diaries.

Reach out to Jaye via e-mail to send her a comment HERE
Post your comment about the PPM below.
Tomorrow we speak to Adelante CEO Jay Meyers about the PPM impact on the Hispanic audience.

(8/7/2014 2:33:32 PM)
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- NY
(8/7/2014 11:15:46 AM)
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- NY
(8/7/2014 8:05:14 AM)
Thanks for the post.Thanks Again. Keep writing.

- NY
(8/7/2014 5:10:42 AM)
I really enjoy the blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Great.

- NY
(8/7/2014 2:04:17 AM)
Thanks-a-mundo for the article.Much thanks again.

- NY

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