Advice for PPM market programmers


One of the true highlights of the NAB Radio Show in Austin was the report from Coleman Insights on its “Real PPM Panelists Tell All.” A summary is now available for everyone who didn’t make it to Austin (and those who did as well). A link to the pdf is posted on the Coleman website and in the next few weeks the entire presentation should be there as video on demand.

For the study, Coleman researchers interviewed around 30 former PPM panelists from the Houston, New York and Philadelphia markets. Based on those face-to-face interviews and minute-by-minute individual PPM data supplied by Arbitron, the study identified three distinct levels of listening reported by PPM: 1) Invisible listening, where the person carrying the meter has no awareness of the radio station whose encoding is being picked up; 2) Incidental listening, where they are listening to a station that they didn’t choose; and 3) Intentional listening, where the PPM panelist is listening to a radio station because they want to hear the programming.

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“I think the most surprising thing was how important what we call ‘intentional listening’ is to the success of a radio station,” Coleman Insights President Warren Kurtzman said in an interview with RBR/TVBR. The humongous Cumes for radio stations resulting from PPM measurement are due in large part to “invisible” and “incidental” listening, but those don’t account for a lot of listening minutes. Rather, intentional listening is what drives AQH numbers, so it’s more important than ever for stations to focus on their P1 and P2 listeners.

His advice to programmers now dealing with PPM?

“There are a couple of concrete recommendations that come out of this study,” said Kurtzman, both dealing with keeping the focus on those intentional listeners. “You need to make sure your product is as in sync as possible with the people who are the potential listeners of your station. And the way to do that is that is high awareness, a very strong brand, a clearly developed position,” he said. Also, don’t rely just on a single element. “Give people a lot of good reasons to become engaged with your radio station,” was his advice.

If you missed RBR/TVBR’s original report from Austin, it is certainly worth a read.

RBR/TVBR observation: As we said before, this is the kind of research that is really needed for broadcasters to get their arms around PPM. Watching the videos and listening to the former PPM panelists is especially enlightening. People really love their favorite radio stations and know a lot about them. On the other hand, PPM can pick up encoding from stations when they’re not even conscious of hearing a radio station. The Coleman folks say the whole presentation from Austin will be available on demand on their website later this month.