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Pandora VS. Radio. Tons of Comments.

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(2/17/2011 12:33:40 PM)   Flag as inappropriate content
OMG, this is too much fun…

When you sell for a station that has no “numbers” because it’s too new (as I have), you develop some great arguments as to why Arbitron ratings might not be the best way to gauge a station’s value. Of course, any intelligent person can argue both sides, but these were mine, and I owned them:

1. “It seems like the only people who have time to participate in Arbitron surveys are the unemployed and retired people; everyone else is too busy. Are these your primary demographics?”

2. “How many people do you know who would actually carry a PPM around with them everywhere they went? I think it takes a special kind of quirky person to do that—I always wondered—do they represent the general population?”

3. “I remember I got a dollar in the mail and a laundry list of stuff to do when I was a busy DOD professional. Since throwing money in the trash is counterproductive (and maybe even illegal), I remember I kept the dollar, but threw the rest of the stuff away.”

4. “Do the busy people you know have time to participate in stuff like this? (Shut up and wait for a response) “ Hmm…I know what you mean. Are most of your customers like that?”

5. “Seems like the fox is guarding the hen house on THOSE numbers. How many of your friends like Classic Rock? You know, our play list is 1500 songs deep. You’ve heard our morning show, right?”

6. “You know, stations that use Arbitron have to pay a very, very hefty fee to use their system. I always wonder—do the numbers follow the money?”

7. “Arbitron is first and foremost a business. They’re a publicly traded firm on the New York Stock Exchange; their symbol is ARB. They’re definitely in business to make money—and they cater to large corporate entities willing to pay through the nose for ammo to give to their sales reps. We refuse to give them money, or participate in their process. Have you listened to our morning show?”

Feel free to use this in your next sales meeting.

- Will Baumann
(2/17/2011 12:28:51 PM)   Flag as inappropriate content
I think Pandora could be a good investment based solely on a business model and market place that I think is conducive to short term growth.

As for local radio, Pandora will not kill it at all. However, Pandora has and will continue to pull music listeners away from FM stations (local and network) that play the same songs over and over. Those who just want to listen to music and don't want silly morning jock showmanship will pick Pandora over radio any day of the week. FM station still play a vital role in radio, but as I see it, their ability to sell ad time will depend on their ability to reach their local audience with unique local content. They won't be able to simply rest on the quality and popularity of the tunes they play.

- Brian
(2/17/2011 12:28:24 PM)   Flag as inappropriate content

"Radio is dead" "Commercial radio is failing". NOT!!

You go girl and keep telling it like it is.

The businesses in my market are successfully using radio advertising and keep telling us its their most effective marketing medium.

- Tony Coloff
(2/17/2011 12:18:25 PM)   Flag as inappropriate content
You Rock Mary Beth. Tech heads never fail to amaze me with their personal attacks and lack of common sense. Radio is here to stay, and yes.... it can capitalize on new technology to enhance its delivery. The factis people like to know whats going on locally, and nationally. If they can get that for free, along with a solid balance of entertainment then they'll stay loyal. To much technology is neaarly equivalent to too much clutter! Who has time to play with all the new toys?
- Rob
(2/17/2011 12:17:01 PM)   Flag as inappropriate content
Mary Beth, I wish you would have addressed your initial premise and the multitude of objections to it rather than just ignore them and talk about how great radio is today.

No one is debating that radio is incredibly powerful today. I talk to VCs in Silicon Valley every month, and they marvel at radio's reach and ability to evoke passion in its audience. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo tweeted about hearing a sports game on the radio and how it thrilled him. There in a nutshell is the perfect example of digital media immersing itself in the power of traditional radio.

But the current power and impact of radio isn't what we are talking about. We are talking about threats and technologies that are STARTING to have an impact on radio and will have an even bigger impact in the future. As Edison's Tom Webster pointed out in his blog, you can't just bury your head in the sand and hope that everything goes away.

You seem to be a big fan of PPM. If you want to get a glimpse of the future, take a look at the TSL trends. Overall listening is falling. If you REALLY want to get a glimpse of the future, look at teens. TSL among teens has fallen dramatically. Where is that listening going? Aren't you as a radio professional concerned? Is the proper strategy to watching your listeners spend less time with your medium to simply ignore it and just say, "We announce the weather at the top of the hour!"

It really appears, Mary Beth, that you are making the grave mistake of confusing people who are trying to point out a competitive threat with people who hate radio and think it sucks. Nothing could be further from the truth. I certainly love radio. I am confident in saying that Tom Webster loves radio. The thing is, we love radio so much that we want it to be healthy for years to come, not just today.

Ignoring the smoke on the horizon to point out how pretty the trees are in front of you won't stop the forest fire.

- Jim Kerr
(2/17/2011 10:12:05 AM)   Flag as inappropriate content
Ms. Garber's comment poking fun at users of DVR'S not knowing how to use the fast forward is a revealing statement.Arrogance of radio execs,the know it all mind set is in most part what is the underlying cause of radio's problems.Lack of formal education is also a factor. Word of mouth school of broadcasting seems to be the college were most radio types have been educated.For those that have taken the time and invested the money in a good education the rewards will be great. PICON radio stations have always had a place in the community of license.

- vic carr
(2/17/2011 9:46:32 AM)   Flag as inappropriate content

Lady, Your Premise Is Wrong All Over!

The following are the requirements and actions needed to be "counted" through PPM:

Encoder, which is installed at the programming or distribution source to insert an inaudible identification code into the audio stream;
Station monitor, which is installed at the programming source to ensure audio content is encoded properly;
Portable People Meter, which is worn by a consumer to detect and record the inaudible codes in the programming that the consumer is exposed to;
Base station, where each survey participant places the meter at the end of the day to recharge the battery and to send collected codes to a household collection device known as a “hub;”
Household hub, which collects the codes from all the base stations in the survey household and transmits them to Arbitron via the telephone during the overnight hours.
PPM was created for the measurement of broadcast listening. You can be proud of your attempt to expand the purpose and scope of PPM to be a universal measurement of all public media as well as the mix of personal entertainment selections being made.

From the above Arbitron supplied information is the assumption that everything being listened to is "encoded" as required by the PPM technology. It's not happening and it's not going to be happening. You have an absurd presumption that local US broadcast stations have the influence to make all other media in the world have and use an encoder. At one time radio broadcasters could set standards, it's not going to happen with PPM encoding of all that is listened to any more successfully than the broadcasting success of HD radio.

Your personal perception of the inter net certainly is a humorous comparison of red and white radio towers to a growing world-wide infrastructure of entertainment and information. Keep on believing that big steel sitting in a field will preside over what will become a broadband reach into every home.

It's interesting that many of the comments people made about your original writing was that the economics of the local radio business are no longer viable. You certainly have avoided any retort to the fundamental fact that commercial radio is failing.

You're paid to rah-rah for your little part of the world. Rah-rah no matter how self-destructing local radio has become.

- Jim Schlichting

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