Arbitron, the people who determine how much radio you listen to and when and maybe even why, has some new research from its new, buggy, and delay-plagued portable PPM ratings machine thingy, a device designed to offer more accurate ratings numbers than the old-school diary system and a device that has actually made the embattled, nervously twitchy radio industry even more wary. And some of the results, if accurate, may prove that we’ve been subjected to 50 Cent for the last five years for no good reason:
Chief among them is the determination that higher income listeners spend more actually time with radio than lower income radio consumers. While diary ratings generally found listeners who made $25,000 per year or less had higher time spent listening numbers, with the PPM this category posts the least amount of listening. With the PPM, those in the $50,000 – $75,000 per year bracket listen to the most radio.
The PPM is also finding a strong link between employment and radio listening. Among the key findings from the electronic measurement service is that people who are employed full time listen to more radio than those who aren’t employed or work only part-time.
Also, with the PPM Arbitron is finding that the gender lines aren’t as blurry as they are with diary ratings. Snyder revealed that while men and women are carrying their PPM devices about the same amount of time, average quarter hour listening is about 30% higher for men overall than women.
The employment thing isn’t so shocking, given the number of offices and factories and whatnot that pipe in radio, or employees in the service industry at the whim of their store or restaurant’s listening policies. But that last one is interesting because, as the program director for Baltimore’s biggest hip-hop station told me last summer during an interview, it’s an industry given among many stations that women listen more, and longer, to the radio, which he claimed was a big reason for the rise (and dominance) of rapper-crooners and sing-songy MC hooks. And that’s just one example of how recieved wisdom or potentially out-of-date numbers can negatively shape your listening experience! Do these new findings mean we’ll soon be free of Akon? With PPM’s variable strike rate so far, don’t count on it until Arbitron gets its act together. But hey, we can dream.