Monday, August 11, 2008

News and Talk on FM: An Update

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about how news/talk stations would continue their successful migration to FM and highlighted WPRO's (Providence) spring ratings success as a shining example. Then the news came out regarding 6 questionable diaries that Arbitron was looking into.

Despite the fact that the premise of the post remains strong and intact, I was concerned that I still might have an erroneous post on my hands. I decided I would wait until Arbitron reissued the Providence ratings before I would change or amend my original post. If you missed it you can read the original here.

According to Radio and Records, Arbitron has re-issued the spring book and here are the detail of the adjustments:
Spring Revised: Arbitron released revised spring numbers for Providence after discovering six diaries from "media-affiliated households." Citadel talk WPRO-AM goes from third to tied for second 12+, not to first as originally shown. The revised numbers heavily affected WPRO's morning show in adults 25-54 but didn't stop the show from going 6.4-7.4 ranking No. 1 12+, says PD Paul Giammarco. The show fell from fourth to ninth place among adults 25-54. Adults 35-64 showed no change in the reissue.
While embarrassing for the station; still a decent book overall as well as for the morning show.

What's still unknown--or not reported thus far-- what was the origin of those 6 renegade diaries. [Arbitron is so hungry for willing participants, this type of "error" does not surprise me. Not to mention stations equally hungry for higher ratings. I may have to write about that at another time.]

As anyone who deals with Arbitron ratings knows, the impact that 6 diaries can have on a ratings period is mind-numbing--even though Providence is a decent sized market with a metro population of 1,376,500 (ranked #39th) and presumably an adequate number of diaries to appropriately measure the market. Imagine the impact in a smaller market!

Based on today's re-issue I will let the original post stand. Like it or not, spoken word formats are FM's future. Got something interesting to say?

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