Radio Evangelist

Thoughts of a Evangelist for Radio in all its forms

Moving to another platform

Posted by Steve on July 22, 2010

Thought I would try out another platform for this blog.  So, please adjust your feed readers to



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Jeff Haley of RAB Announces that Streaming Audio is Radio

Posted by Steve on April 6, 2010

The call for entries for the 2010 Mercury Awards for outstanding audio commercials was made yesterday. You will notice that I said “audio commercials.” Up until now, the Mercuries were limited to commercials aired on terracaster outlets. In a comment about this change, Jeff Haley of the RAB admitted what many of us knew all along – the platform doesn’t matter, it’s all “radio.” Here’s what he said (emphasis mine):

New to this year’s competition, all categories will now be accepting spots that were delivered via IP stream to computers, mobile applications or any other Internet device. “As our industry and business moves forward with new digital platforms, it is not only appropriate but necessary for our industry awards competition to reflect the complete sponsored audio content space,” stated Jeff Haley, President & CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau, and Co-chair of the Radio Creative Fund.

This is a watershed moment. Here’s a link to the announcement:
2010 Radio Mercury Awards Call for Entry is Officially Open Streaming Commercials Now Eligible for Entry

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Radio Spot Loads – the Solution

Posted by Steve on March 26, 2010


  1. The “Tipping Point” for terracasters is rapidly approaching
  2. Use Arbitron PPM data to test commercial load on your station
  3. Superserve your P1 audience now, before it’s too late


A lot of digital ink has been spilt on the subject of how many units of advertising a radio station can support without losing listeners. Sean Ross of Edison Research started the ball rolling last week with his article in Ross on Radio, “It’s Time to Rethink your Spotload, Now.” A follow-up was written by Jim Kerr, of Triton Digital Media, entitled “Spotloads, Perception, and Listener Tolerance.”

Great points are made by both Tom and Jim. All radio people, whether “traditional” or “new” media types – need to pay close attention to how their spot loads effect listener behavior. For terracasters (I am floating this as a much easier term to use than “terrestrial broadcasters,” or “traditional radio”), the problem is like a cancer. It’s a small thing, poised to grow exponentially when the right set of circumstances align themselves.

The Issue

Right now, there are few realistic alternatives for most people who are in-car and listening to the radio. Sure, there’s iPods, streaming Pandora through iPhones and Androids, Sirius/XM and good old fashioned cassette decks. But most people don’t want to mess with this stuff. It’s the blinking clock syndrome. It’s hard enough to manage sending a text while you’re driving, let alone mess with the rest of this stuff.

The tipping point comes when easy, straightforward access to alternative channels comes to the major environments where people listen to terracasters today. We are still early in the adoption curve. It will take about 4 years for this tipping point to occur. Why? Because mass-market automobiles are just now being introduced with these kinds of features in them. As they filter out into the market, more people will become aware of them and begin to use the technologies. By 2014, these cars will begin to enter the resale market en masse and THAT’s when the tipping point occurs. When ordinary, average Americans can pick up a car with these technologies in the dashboard at their local “Ernie’s Auto” corner car lot, the tide will begin to turn dramatically.
incar alternative audio adoption curve.png
This doesn’t mean that terracasters have 4 or five years to figure out the commercial spot load thing. Today’s behavior is a result of repetition of behavior from yesterday and the day before. Begin today to calculate the optimal spot load for your P1 listener group. How?

The Solution

Arbitron’s PPM data provides the best solution for determining listener behavior on a granular level. Without spending tons of money on third-party software (you could, but you don’t have to), you can use Arbitron’s PPM Analysis Tool to dig deep into the behavior of your listener.

Running this test will take some guts. You’ll have to very methodically tinker with your station’s spot count, positioning, and other variables you think could effect a P1’s behavior. You’ll have to wait for the relevant PPM data to be released. You’ll have to analyze it, then rinse and repeat. Run this kind of testing for 6 months or so. In the end, you’ll know what the magic number is for your listener. The problem is, of course, that that number is only good for today. It will change over time, so you must repeat this test frequently.

If you start this process today, determine what your magic number is, and implement whatever business process is necessary to make sure that you implement the spot count limit by 2012, you should be well-prepared for the tipping point.

Or, you could just run a maximum of 8 minutes, spread 2-3-3 and be done with it.

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Dilemma: Should I go to NAB this year?

Posted by Steve on March 18, 2010

Many of us are asking this question right now. Many more have already decided, one way or the other. After receiving an email from the NAB Show’s PR agency, offering a free exhibit floor pass for posting about the show on this blog, I decided to give it some serious thought. So, I’ve researched the show, looked at the exhibitor list, trying to figure out if it makes sense to make the not insignificant investment to travel to Las Vegas on my own dime for this show.

The NAB has had its ups and downs. I have been to about 8 of them since 2000. The first was a mind-blowing event; the scale of the show was almost to much to grasp. This continued for several years, until the 2007 show. That’s when the declining economy and other factors began to catch up and the NAB show began to contract. One signal was the departure of Apple as an exhibitor. Then came the 2008 show. It was nice because the halls were almost empty of people. But for exhibitors, it was a real disappointment. 2009 brought more of the same, but people expected it so they were prepared with low expectations.

So, I thought about 2010 NAB and wondered if this might just be an event in decline.

There’s no way to predict what the attendance will be, but after reviewing the NAB’s plans for the show on their website, , I have to say that this could be a very interesting event for anyone interested in the future of broadcast media.

What really prompted me to write this is the news that Shelley Palmer, media pundit and blogger, is going to keynote the technology luncheon. This choice of speaker puts a totally new focus on what the NAB is all about and makes me feel that they are beginning to “get it.” Shelley Palmer writes over at Jack Myers’ mediabizbloggers and at his own site, MediaBytes.

Oh – and they offered the same deal to readers of RadioEvangelist. So, if you’re thinking of going to NAB 2010 and want a free pass that includes (according to the PR agency), “the exhibit floor, Opening Keynote and State of the Industry Address, Info Sessions, Content Theater and Destination Broadband Theater and Exhibits,” then click this short link – or register at with the code A913.

Enjoy! Maybe I’ll see you in Vegas. Tweet your experience to @mediadude.

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Pandora and Local Radio

Posted by Steve on March 4, 2010

Harker Research posted an interesting analysis a few weeks ago, comparing the ratings of Pandora to those of the typical terrestrial radio station. Here’s the main point:

If we divide Pandora’s AAS by the US population, we’ll have their rating. The 12+ population of the US is about 256 million, so Pandora’s national rating is something like 0.1. It might be a little higher in some markets, a little lower in others, but on average Pandora has the same average listenership as a typical niche programmed AM station, ranked outside the top 20.

This ties into my earlier point about Pandora’s time spent listening. There’s a lot of tune-in to Pandora, but not a lot of stickiness.

Read the Harker Research piece here.

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