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The Real Deal

December 1, 2016

Back when PPM was new on the scene, Coleman Insights shared some valuable ideas about what they coined “the three ‘I’s” – Invisible, Incidental, and Intentional cume listening. These classifications remain valuable today, and we can utilize Nielsen’s software to zero in on the most important group: Intentional listeners.

First, let’s review the three groups. Invisible listening refers to audio that a panelist was exposed to but was not aware of. Incidental listening occurs when a panelist is aware they are exposed to the audio source but didn’t actively choose to be. Examples include shopping in a store that has the radio on or having to listen to a family member’s or coworker’s radio. Intentional listening is done by choice and the listener is aware of what they are listening to. (Source: Coleman Insights, “Real PPM Panelists Tell All,” September 2008)

While Incidental and Invisible listening can account for a decent portion of a station’s cume, it generally accounts for a small portion of TSL. Therefore, it’s not wise to make programming decisions based on these listeners.

The question, then, is how to eliminate them from the data you extract from your Nielsen software. One traditional way would be to look at your First Preference (P1) listeners. These are the folks who listen to your station more than any other station. However, this isn’t foolproof. Say you have someone who is a very light radio listener, only listens to radio 15 minutes per week. If 10 of those minutes are spent with you, then they’re one of your P1 listeners. But it wouldn’t make sense to program your station to suit someone who only listens to you for 10 minutes.

If you subscribe to Nielsen’s PPM Analysis Tool, there’s another option. It’s the listening threshold. This filter allows you to eliminate meterkeepers who listened to the station for less than a certain amount of time. It goes from 15 minutes all the way up to 12+ hours. We’ve found that an hour is a good cut-off. Once you’ve eliminated everyone who listens to your station for less than an hour per week, you’re left with the listeners who matter. The Real Deal. Then you can feel confident about making programming decisions based on the habits of your core audience.

What other strategies do you have for staying focused on the listeners who matter most? Please share below!

-Anne Doyle, Production Manager