Reading, Writing and Ratings

Posted on September 15, 2010


Not to brag, but I got pretty good grades in school. I even managed to take — and pass — both physics and chemistry at old Novi High School. Of course, I surrounded those two juggernauts with several hours at WOVI, our flame throwing 10 watt radio station, but that’s another story.

I firmly believe that a good part of my success in school had less to do with learning the material than it did with studying how to take tests and understanding how teachers graded. Those skills helped, at least to a small degree, balance my bad study habits.

For an on-air talent that concept translates to understanding how Arbitron works; something which makes most hosts — and many PD’s — feel queasy. But, while understanding ratings will not overcome a lack of talent, dedication and preparation, at the very least knowing how the system works will give you insight on how you are being graded. Plus, with PPM rolling out there is a lot of mis-information and bad advice being thrown around. The industry is still learning its way around the new system and will be for some time yet.

If you want to have more control over your career, don’t sit back and listen to second and third hand information about PPM, invest the time to educate yourself.  Here’s how in two easy steps:

1) Visit the Arbitron Web site. They have a lot of information and even free online training available.

2) Review the Coleman Insights presentation titled Real PPM Panelists Tell All. Jon Coleman, Chris Ackerman, Warren Kurtzman and their crew are hands down one of the best media research companies in the business. When Arbitron gave them permission to interview a number of actual PPM panelists — yes, those PPM panelists, the ones who actually carry the meters — they made the most of it. Take the guided tour so you can watch and listen to the actual panelists; you’ll find it fairly eye-opening mostly in a good way. Don’t be put off by the fact that the study is a couple of years old, the data is completely relevant and worth your time.

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