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Brian Wright
Audience Development Group

Listening Universe




Radio people tend to look at their market by seeing the raw number of total persons in their metro area. Then there is an immediate, mental connection that is made by the PD, GM and the rest of the staff that these are the people we must go after. This is not entirely true. Your real universe of listeners is actually much, much smaller. Your actual universe of listeners is the number of Nielsen diary/PPM keepers in your market.  These persons and only these persons are the ones that will reflect the listening levels of your station. Actual listening habits of non-diary keepers are totally irrelevant to you in the here and now. 


Your stationís listening universe is actually even much smaller than the total number of persons that are diary keepers.  Hereís how that works.  Letís say you are in a market of 700,000 people. Nielsen will require a total of about 1500 useable diaries to tabulate the listening habits of the entire population. Of those diaries, your station will get mentions in about 300 of them (give or take a few) for the entire 12 week survey period. When you break this down to a weekly figure, the numbers are even smaller, somewhere around


25 diary keepers! So you can see just how much smaller the real listening universe is for this average radio station...From 700,000 people to just 25!  Isnít that amazing?


Because of this very small listening universe, our margin of error shrinks dramatically!  In order to show up well in Nielsen, we must have a significant impact on those 25 weekly diary holders. This can change everything for on air personalities. Now when they open their microphones they can feel more confident because they only have to persuade a small number of diary/PPM holders and not the entire cume. We can throw away the idea of, ďHow can I have an impact on all of those people out there?Ē


If we can get just 30% of our weekly diary holders to list on 2-3 more occasions per week we will see our ratings go us significantly. The same goes for the PPM markets. We need to be interesting with our content and just as interesting with our appointment listening teases to make this happen. 


Brian is a 30 year radio veteran who has successfully served many companies over the years as Program Director, Operations Manger and VP of programming. After many years of success working for individual radio stations and clusters, Brian Joined one of the most trusted consulting firms in the country, Audience Development Group. For the last 15 years Wright has enjoyed building alliances with scores of stations in the US & Canada helping them grow in ratings and revenue. Contact Brian at


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