data analysisAlthough not a substitute for the deep dive of information a Perceptual Study provides, station management can get a valuable snapshot of their station’s performance by using Arbitron ratings analysis software.  Each new iteration of Arbitron software has yielded different ways of looking at the data.  The choices in software and the array of data available can be a bit overwhelming.  As a multi-decade ratings analyst, I’ve learned the ins and outs of Arbitron’s ratings reports.  Here are some key things you should look for whether you’re using Maximi$er/PD Advantage/Programmers Package, PPM Analysis Tool, PD Advantage Web, and/or Tapscan.

  • How is my station trending over a period of time?

    • Pay special attention to Share, Cume, Time Spent Listening; and, when available, the number of listening Occasions

  • Who is listening to my station?

    • Audience composition is crucial to developing a Strategic Plan

    • Audience composition can be a bellwether of format holes in the market

  • When are they listening to my station?

  • What other stations are my listeners tuning to?

    • Quarter Hour sharing analysis provides insights as to which station’s are most impacting your station’s performance

  • How strong are my P1s?

    • You’re nothing without a vibrant core audience

  • How has Arbitron’s sampling affected the results being analyzed?

  • How can I develop strategies by projecting Shares given Cume and Quarter Hour Levels?

At Paragon we use these key units of analysis (and much more) when doing a Ratings Analysis for clients.  A Ratings Analysis coupled with consulting is a good investment in informing your programming and marketing strategies.  If at all possible, conduct a local Perceptual Study for a more definitive view of your station and the market.  If that’s not in the budget, be sure to measure the results  of changes and update your ratings analysis and strategies regularly.