Pandora radioI’m sure you’ve heard the news.  Pandora is the most listened to radio station in Los Angeles,” according to a recent poll of 1,500 persons by Media Audit.  Their survey says that 1.9 million people in Los Angeles listened to Pandora between September and October of 2011. The No. 2 station, KIIS-FM, garnered 1.4 million listeners in the same period.  (It’s worth noting that Arbitron reports KIIS with double those numbers 18+.)


I’m getting old and confuse easily, but how can listening to hundreds of different channels on Pandora be compared to listening to one single radio station?  One retort is, “the ads on Pandora are heard across all Pandora channels.”  If that is true, then Pandora listening should be compared to the listening of each local radio cluster that sells ads cluster-wide, or even to the whole market.  Plus, I question if all Pandora ads run on all Pandora channels.  Although I don’t know this as a fact, it seems to me that Pandora somewhat targets ads to a listener’s tastes because I hear lots of car insurance pitches for people over 50.

I’m a fan of Pandora, Spotify and other customizable music services.  I just take issue with comparing Pandora’s combined and fractured listening of a zillion channels to a single broadcast radio station’s listening levels for sales advertising purposes.  Comparing Pandora’s entire site numbers to a local radio station audience is bogus. 

If Pandora is a radio station, then so are you.  I know that statement makes no sense at all, but neither does the headline “Pandora is the most listened to radio station in Los Angeles.