One of my favorite books as a kid was, “1001 Riddles for Children.”  I still remember one of the riddles…

Riddle: “How many legs does a sheep have if you call a tail a leg?”

Answer:  “Four.  Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it one.”

The ratings arrive.  They are down.  Our impulse to react.  DO SOMETHING!

I’ve heard some pretty wacky stuff, too, including moving the deejays around, playing music from another format, and thanking the listeners for listening at the top of every hour.

I’M NOT MAKING THIS UP, as Dave Barry would say.

“Research in psychology has revealed that our decisions are disrupted by an array of biases and irrationalities… We seek out information that supports us and downplay information that doesn’t.”

In a recent conference call with some programmers and media strategist Mark Ramsey I posed this question…

As a basis for making programming decisions, how do we consider the findings of strategic research compared to the metrics of PPM (Personal People Meter) ratings?

Just so that we’re on the same page…

Strategic research illuminates opinions and preferences of fans of your station and those like them who may not be listeners.  PPM data on the other hand is the measurement of behavior of a broad group of consumers, some of whom may have been exposed your station’s encoded signal.  Keep in mind in PPM ratings* there is no criteria for being a station/format fan nor being a Christian.  Strategic research is specifically based on those two factors.

Mark’s insight was very helpful.

He suggested that even if PPM data was 100% accurate (see disclaimer below) it still wouldn’t tell you what people like about your station, what they don’t like, and how to appeal to new listeners; critical factors in making programming decisions.  Strategic research reveals precisely those things.

Here’s a riddle for you.  Are you informed?  Or do you react?

*”PPM ratings are based on audience estimates and are the opinion of Nielsen and should not be relied on for precise accuracy or precise representativeness of a demographic or radio market.”

“Nielsen disclaimer