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How to Take Advantage of Christmas Music to Grow Your Ratings

December 26, 2017

‘Tis the season where the radio ratings landscape in most PPM markets experiences a dramatic shift. Thanks to the incessant drumming of Christmas music (usually) one station jumps to the top of the heap and wreaks havoc on the rest of the market. This has been going on long enough that we no longer marvel at the swift change in the ratings hierarchy.

The perennial question is how to handle the aftermath.

For those that take the Christmas plunge, the question is: “How do I keep that huge influx of cume?” To those that lose audience, the question is: “How quickly can I get them back?”

The Ratings Experts from Research Director, Inc. have an answer for both questions.

First, the easy part. There are multiple sources that allow you to track your specific audience on a monthly basis. We’re not talking about trends or demos but listeners by precise age and well-defined geography.

The Nielsen CPR reports are a good place to find out who is listening and where they are. You could also take advantage of our EXACT AGE and HOT ZIP reports. Both Nielsen and Research Director, Inc. can outline the information you need to take effective action. Because we outline data on every metro radio station, you can focus on not only you, but any other station in the market, including that Christmas station not in your cluster. Was the jump a result of new listeners (cume) or increased time (TSL)?

How does this work, exactly?

If you are a Christmas station, you want to play offense and keep as many of those new quarter hours as possible. If you’re attacked by the ghost of Christmas present, you want to play defense and rebound as quickly as possible.

It all comes down to tracking.

If you are playing Christmas music you want to see where you gained listening in December and Holiday. What zip codes suddenly appeared and contributed the most listening to your station? And, what ages do they represent? Then market to that subset with a reason for them to stick around when the Christmas music stops.

Conversely, for those fighting against Christmas music, track your ages and zip codes for October and November. This will tell you where your hottest listening is located and what ages they are. Then, once Santa is on the scene you can look at the December and Holiday surveys to see where your erosion was. You now know where to market to get these listeners back.

Armed with this information you can then go hunting (marketing). Thanks to the high level of targetability — and relative low cost — in the digital space, you can develop some precision marketing campaigns designed to reach specific audiences.

We live in a data driven world and thanks to Nielsen and Research Director, Inc. there are ways to mine that data to help you survive (or thrive) the Christmas music blitz. But the time to act is NOW!

Not sure how to take the first step? Feel free to reach out to Research Director, Inc. at info@ResearchDirectorInc.com. We are in place to help you grow your ratings and revenue.

-Steve Allan, Programming Research Consultant