Radio Evangelist

Thoughts of a Evangelist for Radio in all its forms

Pandora Listeners Do Not Seem to Listen Long

Posted by Steve on March 1, 2010

Ando Media released their January rankings of streaming audio entities last week. Pandora is on top of the heap in “session starts,” with 100 million plus. Pretty impressive, even when you consider that this is as duplicated number and not an unduplicated measure like cume.

But the really interesting bit is that Pandora listeners spend less than an hour with the service for each session, on average. In comparison, Cox Radio’s streaming listeners spend over two hours for each session, Saga and Citadel’s spend considerably more than 3 hours.

There has been a lot of talk about the stickiness of Pandora, but these numbers expose the fact that the service is cool, but boring. People are finding that the streams from broadcasters like Saga, Cox, Citadel, CBS and Clear Channel are more than twice as engaging.

As more streaming moves from the home and office to the car, it will be interesting to see how these numbers play out. For example, will Pandora listeners bring their listening to the car? The stats will show those connections as additional session starts. For listeners of terrestrial stations who use the stream when in the office and listen to the same station in the car, the behavior might well be to forgo listening on IP devices and revert to the car radio. This will be a complicated behavior to measure; PPM is probably the only tool that can do it.

The complete pdf of the Ando Media January report is available by clicking this link.

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Posted in Media Research, Radio, streaming | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Happy 2010!

Posted by Steve on January 4, 2010

Phil Bernstein is a blogger in Portland, Oregon. He’s also an account manager with Portland’s Clear Channel radio stations. And he writes about advertising. He’s on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, too.

Writing about marketing so that his customers can see his thinking differentiates him from virtually every other radio sales person out there.

This is the kind of person that is the future of radio – forward thinking and ready to tackle the marketing of his customers businesses with some marketing of himself. Hats off to Phil!

http://philbernstein.wordpress.com/

Posted in Advertising, Radio, Sales, Social Media | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

House Committee to Review PPM

Posted by Steve on November 25, 2009

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is set to hold a hearing on Wednesday, December 2, to examine Arbitron’s radio audience measurement device, the Portable People Meter (PPM).

The government’s intrusion into the measurement of media audiences is fraught with problems, illustrated by this quote from the chairman of the committee – Congressman Ed Towns, from the second paragraph of the committee’s announcement:

“With an unprecedented decline in ratings among popular minority television and radio stations, we must explore the possibility of methodological flaws in the implementation of the PPM,” said Chairman Towns. “As it stands now, the current system jeopardizes the future of minority broadcasting.”

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Congressman Towns, what connection would a “decline in ratings among popular minority television…stations” have to do with PPM? PPM only officially measures radio, and even if Arbitron did measure local TV, there could be no decline in ratings because there are no pre-ppm ratings from Arbitron to compare to!

Here’s more from this press release – pay attention to the bolded portion in particular:

Chairman Towns served a subpoena to the Media Ratings Council (MRC) in September 2009 for documents detailing its oversight of Arbitron’s use of the PPM, after Arbitron forbid MRC from releasing documents related to the Committee’s investigation. Although Arbitron promised full cooperation with the investigation, the company prohibited MRC from providing the Committee with any documents related to the PPM. Furthermore, Arbitron provided the Committee with insufficient documents that were either publicly available or biased toward the company.

So – the Congressman wants more documents that are “…publicly available or biased towards the company?” Huh?

This hearing should be interesting. Not because the subject is particularly compelling, but because it may be an illustration of exactly why government shouldn’t be involved with issues like the measurement of media exposure.

If Congressman Towns’ and the Committee’s statements are indicative of the way the hearing will proceed – discussions of why the PPM has reduced TV ratings and why Arbitron hasn’t provided the Committee with more publicly available or biased documents – then Congress will have wasted valuable treasure of time and resources.

Posted in Advertising, Congress, ppm, Radio, tv | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

HD Radio and the iPhone – Not Quite There Yet

Posted by Steve on November 10, 2009

Ibiquity and a company called Gigaware yesterday announced an accessory for the iPhone/iPod Touch that brings HD radio to the device. You can pick up this little add-on at your local Radio Shack store (whatever happened to their plan to just call themselves “The Shack?) for about $80.

Here’s a link to The Wall Street Journal’s Lauren Goode article and her interview with Bob Struble, CEO of Ibiquity.

This accessory has generated a fair amount of buzz around the internets. Many people are saying that one of the major selling points of the new Zune is the HD radio inside. Before today, I can’t remember anyone saying that.
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This accessory is very similar to the analog FM radio accessory that has been available for iPods for years. It plugs into the accessory connector on the device. There’s a tuning control that you can use to navigate the radio’s presets which connects to the device through a wire. There’s also an app that you install from the iTunes store – free, but necessary for the HD Radio to function. The HD Radio dongle has an iTunes tagging feature so that you can identify songs you wish to purchase later by clicking a button on the tuning control.

I own the standard iPod FM radio; it is useful on trips when I want to monitor local radio and I am not in a rental car. It has an RDS display right on the iPod – which highlights to me how poorly stations are at implementing this potentially extremely valuable tool.

So – the questions are, will people pay $80 for a radio in their iPhone when they can purchase a portable HD radio for $50? And – do people really care about having a broadcast radio receiver in their iPhone/Touch when there are so many other options available to them via iPhone/Touch apps?

My guess is that until the software that drives the HD radio is integrated with a streaming radio application in such a way that I can choose my over-the-air HD radio station or my streaming audio channel with the click of a pre-set, this won’t be a very strong offering. There’s a lot of potential power in this app that resides on the iPhone’s desktop. Smart folks will figure out how to tap into it.

The physical clunkiness of the connection to the phone may also deter people from using it. The connection of the original iPod FM radio is almost exactly the same and I find that it’s annoying. The wires get in the way.

However, it’s a start. Let’s see how this goes – maybe we’ll be able to pick these up cheaply on eBay after Christmas!

Posted in HD Radio, ipod, Radio | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

A Missed Opportunity for WRNR

Posted by Steve on November 9, 2009

WRNR, a Baltimore/DC area alternative radio station, was a promotional sponsor of the 12th annual “Maritime Republic of Eastport Tug o’ War,” held this past Saturday in Annapolis and Eastport, MD.

I heard about the event on ‘RNR and decided to go. It was a great afternoon of music, food and fun – including a tug of war between Eastport and Annapolis.

‘RNR was there – with a logo-covered tent, a table with station merchandise, and lots of signage all around the venue. A fairly standard radio presence.

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But – there was another media outlet there, doing something that the folks at ‘RNR could have very easily done.

The Sailing Channel video streamed the entire event live on uStream!

The Sailing Channel?

‘RNR could have done exactly the same thing – or, teamed up with The Sailing Channel – and really connected with their audience using a new media platform. All sorts of opportunities presented themselves – interviews with ‘RNR fans, the artists who performed on both the stage in Annapolis and Eastport, personality appearances with the winners.

‘RNR could have produced this, provided talent and imbedded the stream on their home page.

Radio needs to pay much more attention to these opportunities – or be marginalized by other media outlets like, well, The Sailing Channel.

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