Client Requests


Your custom request has been sent. We’ll contact you if we have any additional questions.

* Indicates a required field.

  • MM slash DD slash YYYY
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Hot Topics

Selling the Value of Your TSA Audience

June 20, 2013

Your station’s audience may extend well beyond the defined limits of the radio metro. Including these listeners in advertising proposals may add value to your advertisers’ media buys.

Why learn about TSA audience?

Most radio presentations discuss your audience within the radio metro. There may be additional value in your TSA (Total Survey Area) audience. TSA listeners are consumers who hear the advertiser’s message on your station but for whom media buyers generally do not give any credit for having heard that message.  These are potential consumers who are exposed to the advertiser’s message but have not been calculated into the cost-per-point or cost-per-thousand. Placing a value on these listeners can help justify higher rates and show an advertiser the true value of your audience.

What is the TSA audience?

The TSA is a geographic area that encompasses the Metro Survey Area (MSA) and certain counties located outside the MSA. The TSA is defined by those counties that meet certain listening criteria of stations located in the Metro area. The TSA is a region, usually larger than your metro.  While the metro is a government or industry-described definition, the TSA is set by actual listening to metro radio stations. Simply put, the TSA is typically the MSA plus counties surrounding the metro whose residents listen to MSA stations.

Why should advertisers care?

For many advertisers there is extraordinary value in the TSA consumers. They may have locations and consumers in the TSA counties. The non-metro TSA residents may even be higher consumers of particular products or services than their metro counterparts.

Who is the ideal advertiser for TSA?

The TSA consumers should be of interest to any advertiser that has customers or locations outside the metro counties.  From automobile dealers, to banks, to grocery stores, to mobile communication services, a station’s TSA audience has value to many advertisers. The only advertisers that may not be interested in the TSA are retailers without any non-metro locations.

How to Justify Your TSA Audience

Run your radio schedule on the metro audience.

Using a proposed or existing schedule, run a reach and frequency analysis using the metro geography. Make sure that you include the metro population and gross impressions in the analysis. Gross impressions estimates the number of times an advertiser’s message is heard.  With gross impressions a person is counted as many times as they heard the message.

Run the same schedule off of the TSA audience.

Use the same schedule used above and run a reach and frequency analysis using the TSA geography. Take the schedule from above and run it off the TSA.  Don’t worry that the GRPs are lower and the CPP is higher. The TSA has a larger population base and most stations perform better in the metro than they do in the TSA.

Compare TSA gross impressions to metro impressions.

The difference between the TSA gross impressions and the metro gross impressions is the number of times the advertiser’s commercial is being heard for which you are not getting credit. These are potential consumers who are hearing the message and the advertiser is getting for free – a bonus audience for their commercials.

Convert these TSA impressions into metro cost-per-point.

Divide the TSA impressions into the metro population.  Cost-per-points are based on the metro population so it’s justified to make this comparison using the metro population.

Overcoming Objections

I don’t care about the TSA audience.

Consumers who live outside of the boundaries of an Arbitron-defined radio metro spend money on products and services. Show the value of the TSA audience to the advertiser using Maximiser, TapWeb, Scarborough, or Census data. (The Media Audit only measures metro audiences).

Why should I place a price on something that I always get for free?

The first step is for an advertiser to understand that these listeners are hearing their message. If an Account Executive cannot convince an advertiser to attach a price to the extra audience, make certain the advertiser acknowledges there is still value in this extra audience. The bonus audience may help in a tiebreaker with another metro station that has not sold their TSA audience to the advertiser.

If you want to use the TSA impressions, then you must use the TSA ratings.

Ratings and cost-per-points are based on the population. One rating point equals one percent of the population. If advertisers insist on using the TSA ratings, a higher cost-per-point is justifiable because the population base is larger. One TSA rating point represents more people than one metro rating point. Remember, the objective is to show an advertiser the bonus audience they have been receiving but for which they have not been paying.


If your station has a strong TSA story and you have advertisers with TSA non-metro consumers, then the TSA bonus may help you shift the negotiations from rank, rating, and cost-per-point to the actual benefit of exposing large numbers of money-spending consumers to the advertiser’s message.

Arbitron measures TSA during the Fall and Spring surveys, so now is a good time to:

  • Identify Appropriate TSA Advertisers. Which of your advertisers benefit from these non-metro consumers? Do they have locations outside the metro counties? Do they offer a service not constrained by geography?
  • Identify Your Station’s TSA Audience. Is your station’s audience based just in the metro, or does it reach outside of the metro?

Research Director, Inc. provides TSA stories in our clients’ Spring and Fall sales packages, so be sure to put them to use when your Spring book arrives.  Plus, you can always call your Research Director Market Consultant for help.

Not a current Research Director client?  Click here to find out more about our services.

-Karen Blanks, Sales Research Consultant