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post #1 of 16 Old 06-09-2020, 06:57 PM - Thread Starter
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General Radio Chat (moved from ATSC 3.0 thread)

*** Moderator's note: This discussion of radio-centric things has been relocated here from the ATSC 3.0 thread in order to facilitate continued discussion*****


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Originally Posted by Falcon_77 View Post
"Hey, well, at least we got FM chips activated on a few phones before headphone jacks started disappearing..."

Heh, carriers have repeatedly tried (and mostly succeeded!) at keeping chips, which could offer free services, from entering their black slab cash cows. Or HD Radio on phones? Um, uh? I still have my, now vintage, Insignia HD Radio portable workout tuner. I showed it to my bro last night after he asked where all the HD Radio tuners were... And it has a so retro Mini-USB connector... @sneals2000 do any phones in UK/EU have DAB tuners?

Sadly, I see 3.0 being no different.

Anyway, I feel it's been like Inspector Clouseau's declaration of, "Where everyone else has succeeded, I have always failed!"
Outside of cars people don't listen to the radio. People want what they want, free doesn't matter if people don't want it. People want their music, streaming and downloads rule.

"Espresso is like tequila, when in doubt apply more shots."

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post #2 of 16 Old 06-11-2020, 09:22 AM
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I don't quite buy the argument that carriers don't want OTA TV. They are pushing everyone on UDPs anyway, so they really don't care if you use more data or not.

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Outside of cars people don't listen to the radio. People want what they want, free doesn't matter if people don't want it. People want their music, streaming and downloads rule.
There's definitely been a movement to streaming, but you'd be surprised how many small stores or restaurants you go in and they have a radio playing. Not to mention industrial settings that often have the radio on all day to a hard rock or metal station. I still wonder what the viability of radio is, as it's often on in the background, and the ads probably aren't that effective. The one thing that radio hasn't done that I can't understand is to stop airing multiple ads back to back to back. If they put one 30 second ad between each song, it would be far less annoying, and no one would tune off of that station, making the ad much more effective. Win-win. Yet none of them do it.
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post #3 of 16 Old 06-11-2020, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by BiggAW View Post
The one thing that radio hasn't done that I can't understand is to stop airing multiple ads back to back to back. If they put one 30 second ad between each song, it would be far less annoying, and no one would tune off of that station, making the ad much more effective. Win-win. Yet none of them do it.
Yes, this would be much better. As it is, when the ads start, I try my other presets and if they are syncing ads (and no one is playing music), I turn off the radio. And often I forget to turn it back on for the rest of my commute. Well, when I do commute these days.
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post #4 of 16 Old 06-11-2020, 03:22 PM
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There's a lot of math and research in radio advertising placement. Happy to go into it if anyone's interested. Suffice it to say the way it's done works the best. A single :30 after every song might result in 8 minutes of ad time an hour, tops. The other way runs 12-14. With ad rates being driven down by iHeart and Cumulus, every dime counts. 3 or 4 break clocks (what we call an hour of music programming) result in longer time spent listening than doing a six break hour with the same number of total commercials.

With People Meter data, we learned some interesting things. A station will retain 80 percent of the listeners through a commercial break. Then lose half of those on the first song out of that break.

For some reason, nobody likes a lot of commercials in the first 15 minutes of an hour, but will tolerate many more in the fourth quarter. No idea why.

There's a reason commercials seem to run at the same time on all music stations, especially in diary-rated markets. PPM cities are a different beast.

There's lots more, but this IS an HDTV section. Happy to tackle anything via PM or over in the HD Radio section. I used to TEACH this stuff as well as do it.

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post #5 of 16 Old 06-11-2020, 09:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDon View Post
There's a lot of math and research in radio advertising placement. Happy to go into it if anyone's interested. Suffice it to say the way it's done works the best. A single :30 after every song might result in 8 minutes of ad time an hour, tops. The other way runs 12-14. With ad rates being driven down by iHeart and Cumulus, every dime counts. 3 or 4 break clocks (what we call an hour of music programming) result in longer time spent listening than doing a six break hour with the same number of total commercials.

With People Meter data, we learned some interesting things. A station will retain 80 percent of the listeners through a commercial break. Then lose half of those on the first song out of that break.

For some reason, nobody likes a lot of commercials in the first 15 minutes of an hour, but will tolerate many more in the fourth quarter. No idea why.

There's a reason commercials seem to run at the same time on all music stations, especially in diary-rated markets. PPM cities are a different beast.

There's lots more, but this IS an HDTV section. Happy to tackle anything via PM or over in the HD Radio section. I used to TEACH this stuff as well as do it.

Doc
Interesting. I've seen ad supported free video streaming not run an ad for the first 15 to 20 min, then the frequency picks up after that.

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post #6 of 16 Old 06-12-2020, 04:46 AM
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And that is why I listen to a lot of NPR radio which is very informative, educational with lots of comedy programming too! A gem that many people miss out on. The same for public television with some of the best non commercial programming with a great variety of programming. Some of the best detective and comedy shows on TV. All broadcast FREE!
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post #7 of 16 Old 06-12-2020, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDon View Post
There's a lot of math and research in radio advertising placement. Happy to go into it if anyone's interested. Suffice it to say the way it's done works the best. A single :30 after every song might result in 8 minutes of ad time an hour, tops. The other way runs 12-14. With ad rates being driven down by iHeart and Cumulus, every dime counts. 3 or 4 break clocks (what we call an hour of music programming) result in longer time spent listening than doing a six break hour with the same number of total commercials.
Except that people flip off the station. If they stayed on the same station and listened to that 8 minutes of advertising, it would be worth more. Unless the rating/counting methodology is so blunt and antiquated that it can't account for that, in which case that's the problem. The stations do "100 minutes of non-stop music" or whatever, and then everyone knows there's a ton of commercials and DJ yak, so they flip off of it.

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Interesting. I've seen ad supported free video streaming not run an ad for the first 15 to 20 min, then the frequency picks up after that.
It makes a LOT more sense on TV, as they've sucked you into the show, but with radio, it makes no sense.

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And that is why I listen to a lot of NPR radio which is very informative, educational with lots of comedy programming too! A gem that many people miss out on. The same for public television with some of the best non commercial programming with a great variety of programming. Some of the best detective and comedy shows on TV. All broadcast FREE!
NPR podcasts are great. In fact, with podcasts and audiobooks, if I'm alone in the car, I almost never turn the radio on anymore, and even when I'm with a friend, they usually use Spotify unless we're in the 80% of the country that has crappy cell phone reception.
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post #8 of 16 Old 06-12-2020, 02:46 PM - Thread Starter
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And that is why I listen to a lot of NPR radio which is very informative, educational with lots of comedy programming too! A gem that many people miss out on. The same for public television with some of the best non commercial programming with a great variety of programming. Some of the best detective and comedy shows on TV. All broadcast FREE!
There is no free ! Contribute !!! Or it will go away..
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post #9 of 16 Old 06-13-2020, 07:01 AM
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Except that people flip off the station.
Got any research to back that up? As I said in my previous post, PPM research shows that's just not happening. I don't know if you've worked in or sold radio advertising or how aware of ratings methods you are, but the People Meter methodology used in a number of bigger markets has showed some interesting things. While we can argue PPM's failings - and there are many - another time, one of its advantages is the ability to "play back" minute-by-minute ratings simultaneously with programming. In other words, I could go back a day later, listen to a recording of my own show and watch the numbers minute-by-minute. YOU might flip channels the instant commercials start - and many do. Most don't. As I posted previously, around 80% will sit through the commercial break. It's the next song that will send more to the buttons.

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If they stayed on the same station and listened to that 8 minutes of advertising, it would be worth more. Unless the rating/counting methodology is so blunt and antiquated that it can't account for that, in which case that's the problem. The stations do "100 minutes of non-stop music" or whatever, and then everyone knows there's a ton of commercials and DJ yak, so they flip off of it.
Ratings are calculated in "average quarter hours." That's the average number people who are listening in any quarter hour for at least five minutes. A person who listens from :09 to :21 gets counted in two quarter hours. Get someone to sit for 100 minutes and that's 7 quarter hours. Ad rates are calculated on AQH. The station with the higher AQH in a targeted demo gets the higher rates. This is generally a midday method, when there's a lot of at-work listening. At-work people generally don't change the channel in the commercial breaks.

With the exception of those 100-minute "sweeps," few ad breaks are 8 minutes long. Just like in television, advertisers often pay extra to be in the first ad position of any break.

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It makes a LOT more sense on TV, as they've sucked you into the show, but with radio, it makes no sense.
I think it's the same principle at work. Give them a lot more content in that first quarter hour and they'll stick around for the others. It's hard to argue with the PPM real-time data, but it is the way it is. Talk Radio has adopted this, as well. Rush RARELY takes a break until he's very near :20. Then it's three in fairly quick succession, all less than :03 IIRC. Ditto Dan Patrick, Colin Cowherd, Hannity.. you name it. That first quarter hour gets the fewest ads.

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post #10 of 16 Old 06-13-2020, 02:40 PM
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Very interesting data. It seems very reasonable to me that the same principle would apply in radio as TV. Too, lots of schedule items either start or end at the top of the hour (one’s work day, for example, or lunch, or class, or lots of things), so it seems natural that the first quarter would have fewer ads to engage the audience.

I question the previously-asserted notion that radio listening only happens in the car. The ratings from the COVID stay-at-home period don’t seem to me to support that notion in any way. I’d be curious for your thoughts on that, DrDon.
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post #11 of 16 Old 06-15-2020, 08:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDon View Post
Got any research to back that up? As I said in my previous post, PPM research shows that's just not happening. I don't know if you've worked in or sold radio advertising or how aware of ratings methods you are, but the People Meter methodology used in a number of bigger markets has showed some interesting things. While we can argue PPM's failings - and there are many - another time, one of its advantages is the ability to "play back" minute-by-minute ratings simultaneously with programming. In other words, I could go back a day later, listen to a recording of my own show and watch the numbers minute-by-minute. YOU might flip channels the instant commercials start - and many do. Most don't. As I posted previously, around 80% will sit through the commercial break. It's the next song that will send more to the buttons.
Anecdotal. People flip off when they hear the ads, but tolerate streaming services with an ad or two between songs. I've seen it over and over and over. Something just sounds wrong with that data.

Quote:
Ratings are calculated in "average quarter hours." That's the average number people who are listening in any quarter hour for at least five minutes. A person who listens from :09 to :21 gets counted in two quarter hours. Get someone to sit for 100 minutes and that's 7 quarter hours. Ad rates are calculated on AQH. The station with the higher AQH in a targeted demo gets the higher rates. This is generally a midday method, when there's a lot of at-work listening. At-work people generally don't change the channel in the commercial breaks.

With the exception of those 100-minute "sweeps," few ad breaks are 8 minutes long. Just like in television, advertisers often pay extra to be in the first ad position of any break.
True, people at work are semi-captive either way.

Quote:
I think it's the same principle at work. Give them a lot more content in that first quarter hour and they'll stick around for the others. It's hard to argue with the PPM real-time data, but it is the way it is. Talk Radio has adopted this, as well. Rush RARELY takes a break until he's very near :20. Then it's three in fairly quick succession, all less than :03 IIRC. Ditto Dan Patrick, Colin Cowherd, Hannity.. you name it. That first quarter hour gets the fewest ads.
But what are you getting sucked into? It's songs and a bunch of useless DJ chitter chatter. Talk radio is a different animal. Baseball is awesome on the radio, and great for advertisers, since people are listening live to the game. Talk radio is more like TV than most radio in terms of the content.
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post #12 of 16 Old 06-16-2020, 07:57 AM
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Anecdotal. People flip off when they hear the ads, but tolerate streaming services with an ad or two between songs. I've seen it over and over and over. Something just sounds wrong with that data.
We call this "sphere of influence" perception. "None of my friends do X, so X must not be popular." I've got 30-odd years of working with ratings data to back up what I'm telling you. Used to hear the same generalizations from advertisers. I'd offer to disprove it by saying, "Let me stick a commercial last-in-set offering $100 to the first ten callers to your business. If nobody calls, you win. If your phone lights up like a Christmas tree, you're out $1000." Not one advertiser would take me up on that bet and I'd usually get the buy. (Advertisers used to test ad effectiveness by offering freebies to "the next X people who come in." That's no longer allowed as it's a public safety hazard. They can still do similar things, but the parameters have to be different as not to encourage reckless driving.)

First quarter hour: I hear a lot of theories from consultants and program directors.. everything from "conditioning" - radio's been doing it this way so long, it's just expected - to a standard transactional theory. The latter holds up in all sorts of business and negotiation practices and is the one I subscribe to. Regardless of beliefs, it simply works. My break in the first quarter hour was always the last to be filled.

This comes from my own personal experience with ad-supported music streams: I'm hit with an ad before the first song starts or not until 15-20 minutes of streaming, then it's every 3-4 songs. Never just two. That tells me the music streamers are operating under some of the same principles. I'd need actual research, though. This is just my experience. I do have a friend who sells for Pandora. I should call her up.

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But what are you getting sucked into? It's songs and a bunch of useless DJ chitter chatter.
One person's "useless DJ chitter chatter" is another's entertainment. Some of us work really hard to make our content more compelling than the music.. and it works. Survey the public about what they want in a morning radio show and they overwhelmingly say "more music and fewer commercials." Ratings don't reflect that. I've seen dozens of stations try "most music in the morning" ..and bail on it within a book or two. While my competition is playing yet another worn-out Glen Campbell oldie, I've got a college student prank-calling her dorm roommate to tell her she's put their room up on Air B&B, so she'll need to clear out on the weekends. I'll win that battle every time.
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post #13 of 16 Old 06-16-2020, 08:10 AM
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I question the previously-asserted notion that radio listening only happens in the car. The ratings from the COVID stay-at-home period don’t seem to me to support that notion in any way. I’d be curious for your thoughts on that, DrDon.
You're quite correct. The shutdown has had a huge effect on ratings. In a nutshell, radio listening in shutdown states is way up. The ratings pie is a little trickier to decipher. News/talk stations are up. Music stations are also up, though not exactly proportional to their previous ratings. When I look over who's doing better and who's doing worse, I think what I'm seeing is people who now work from home are now listening to whatever their preference usually is. Take country, for example. In the workplace, it's not everyone's cup of tea. If listening to a radio is allowed at all, it's usually the one with the broadest appeal and often that's the soft rock or oldies station. Without the binds of respecting other workers' tastes, country fans can listen to country while they work while hip-hop or R&B fans can enjoy those stations. I'd have to look more closely, but the rise of narrower-formatted stations may come at the expense of the broader ones. I've really only examined the markets I'm familiar with or have/had clients in.

It'll be interesting to see what happens going forward as a lot of these work-from-home people will continue to do so and PPM technology is fine-tuned for that.
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post #14 of 16 Old 06-21-2020, 12:34 PM
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The one thing that radio hasn't done that I can't understand is to stop airing multiple ads back to back to back. If they put one 30 second ad between each song, it would be far less annoying, and no one would tune off of that station, making the ad much more effective. Win-win. Yet none of them do it.
Are you kidding, 30 s ad after each song? No way. People pay $10/mo to Netflix or Spotify exactly NOT to listen to ads, and there is no going back. I bought an HD Radio receiver recently to listen to my favorite HD station because it plays stuff I used to listen 30 years ago, and because it practically has no ads. Its parent analog/HD1 channel is full of ads.

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And that is why I listen to a lot of NPR radio which is very informative, educational with lots of comedy programming too! A gem that many people miss out on.
KCRW FTW. They have a smartphone app. I don't care for their shallow "political analysis", but their music programming is top-notch. Lots of new interesting indie music, not Top 40 autotuned junk. Now, THIS is a topic to talk about: 40-50-60 years ago Top 40 played music people wanted, now they play horrendous junk with no melody and no sensible lyrics, all autotuned. I have to search on Spotify or YouTube for good stuff, thanks KCRW for keeping the flame burning.

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people who now work from home are now listening to whatever their preference usually is
They did the same in the office. I did. It is all streaming.

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post #15 of 16 Old 06-22-2020, 06:20 AM
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They did the same in the office. I did. It is all streaming.
Your experiences don't represent everyone's. In our focus groups and research, a majority of office workers were not permitted to use work computers to stream music, videos or anything else. Radios, when allowed, were shared, i.e. a "cubicle farm" had one radio tuned to the "safest" station everyone could agree on. That research fits the cume and TSL spikes we're now seeing in niche formats.

That's not to say SOME offices allow music streaming. It's far from ubiquitous.

Working in country radio as long as I have, the single biggest grip I'd hear from listeners is that they couldn't listen at work. Number of reasons cited.. everything from poor reception to management. Usually, it was "majority rules." Which meant oldies, soft rock or classic rock, which is what we saw in the ratings.

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post #16 of 16 Old 06-22-2020, 10:14 AM
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Your experiences don't represent everyone's.
Neither your focus groups. The streaming data shows that streaming increases during daytime, and it shows that people listen from their desktops, not mobile devices, meaning they use office computers for that.

But even if they are not permitted to listen through their work computer, they still can use office wi-fi, cannot they? So, they can continue using Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music or what have you. And even if their employer is so stingy that it prohibits using wi-fi for personal use, streaming 64 kbps for 8 hours a day for four weeks amounts to less than 5 GB of data, and I think most plans afford that amount. My $35/mo plan affords me 10 GB/mo.

No one whom I know listens to broadcast radio, but neither anyone I know listens to country.

In any case, streaming companies have income of, say, $10/mo per listener, and they have solid statistics based on actual usage data, not on focus groups. So this is where money is being spent. Radio is an afterthought. Many shows on broadcast radio can be streamed over internet, in fact they do just the opposite: they build their playlists and then broadcast them OTA. What's the point, besides saving some data on your smartphone plan? On another hand, I can listen to brilliant KCRW programming via their app, which is buggy and locks up now and then, but I cannot listen via OTA anyway, it is too far.

If neither wi-fi not cellular works, a couple of 4-hour sets like the one linked below, loaded onto a smartphone, solve workplace listening preferences


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Radios, when allowed, were shared, i.e. a "cubicle farm" had one radio tuned to the "safest" station everyone could agree on. ... the single biggest grip I'd hear from listeners is that they couldn't listen at work
Everywhere I worked, music was allowed only via headphones, no loudspeakers. But again, this is just my own experience which may be different from 90% of office workers in the country.

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