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Here He Comes

November 10, 2022

As the calendar turns to November, all thoughts go to…when will the Christmas station start playing Burl Ives?

PPM has taught us that the switch to Santa has a profound effect on audience movement.

Recently, Ken Benson from the P1 Media Group posted research results that said 32% of American Christmas radio listeners want the festivities to begin right after Thanksgiving. We all know that most holiday stations will ignore that advice. Many are already in the holiday spirit as you read this blog.

How effective Christmas music is in early November versus after Thanksgiving is debatable and varies by market. Regardless of when it starts, it will have an effect on your station’s numbers if you are not the home of the holiday hits. If you are the purveyor of that sound, you already know what to expect.

How do you track your gains/losses over this two-plus book span? You can go into Tapscan and track discrete demo cells. You can watch what zip codes arrive or depart in PD Advantage. And you can see which meter keepers have come or gone in your CPR report (remember that data set is unweighted).

We think we have a better way. If you have access to our EXACT AGE and HOT ZIP reports, you already know who is contributing quarter hours to your station and where they live. No, you don’t know them personally or have their address, but you can get very granular with this data.

How does this actually work? Since all the data in both reports is trended over 14 surveys, you can see when people and zip codes appear and disappear. If you are competing with the holiday station, you would want to note who your biggest listeners are in the October survey. Then you could track them over the next three books to see if they remained loyal. Since these reports contain every station that makes the book in your market, you can also see if they went to the North Pole.

This same process – in reverse – works if you’re spinning Mariah Carey in heavy rotation. You’ll be able to see who comes in, how heavy their usage is, and when they leave.

This is powerful information, but what can you do with it?

First, it helps you make informed programming decisions. Did my heaviest listener leave in December and (hopefully) come back in January? Did any of my new holiday listeners stick around after the survey?

Second, this affords you a marketing opportunity. I’ll stop for a second so you can stop laughing. All I can say is that we do have clients that have been able to target these listeners in a precise and efficient way without breaking the bank.

As we mentioned in a recent post, the reality of PPM is that a small percentage of meters can wield enormous influence over a station’s ratings. Having the sort of data we outlined here can help you make more informed programming decisions. Contact us to talk about how to put it into action.

Ho, Ho, Ho

-Steve Allan, Programming Research Consultant