Sunday, September 08, 2013


I don't know whether to blame this blog post on The New York Times or Taylor Swift.  Both are somewhat culpable.

They had to know that we'd all find their "Popular List" irresistible:
And, I did.  Until I reached the ultimate point of the article:  "By one measure, no one watches “Girls.” By another, it’s fantastically popular. We already understand why this is: it’s a tenet of faith that we no longer experience culture as one hulking, homogeneous mass."

It suddenly started to sound a lot like one of the country programmers quoted by Country Aircheck as PPM ratings come out.  They want us to know that they are #1 in 20-23 year old boys who live on the south side of town and seem not to recognize that we can see their station's 6+ and 18-49 numbers, where the were beaten.

This game of demographics, of course, is not new to any of us in radio, who print new rankers every book with a different target where we hit it out of the park this time.

And, if we can't find a demo to brag about, we'll find you a psychographic or a flattering qualitative stat which proves how popular we are .. with somebody.

As Times writer Adam Sternbergh notes:  "Now, the concept of cultural popularity has been flayed, hung by its heels and drained of all meaning."

Let's stop bragging about meaningless rankers and begin to focus on the measure that really matters: 
  • What proof do you have that your listeners are deeply engaged by your content and promotions?
  • What can you show me that validates your advertisers get results exceeding their expectations?
How popular are you with the people who have money to spend on radio advertising?

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