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A Spanish-language station belatedly flips radio’s ratings switch

On Friday, I posted the monthly Twin Cities radio ratings, noting among other interesting things “that Spanish-language station La Invasora came out of nowhere to nearly crack the Top 20.”

Turns out that’s literally true, according to station president Alberto Monserrate, who sent me a funny note after the post came out. It sheds a little self-deprecating light on the new Portable People Meter technology that has altered the landscape since its April adoption.

Lingo note: when Alberto talks about “cume,” he’s referring to individuals hearing a station, a component of market listenership share:

When I talked to you in July about ratings and PPM I knew that there was no way that it could be correct that La Invasora 1400 was not showing up on the cume ratings, but had no way to prove it to you. Our independent research showed our audience was better than our Spanish radio competitors. I decided to get to the bottom of the problem to find out why we didn’t show up and found out that we had an engineering problem.

Apparently, to my surprise, PPM meters can only measure a frequency if the radio stations install an electronic device provided by Arbitron. Since we don’t subscribe to Arbitron and due to a mistake by our technical people, we had not installed our device. That’s what happens to us little, badly informed radio stations. We should’ve known better though. Oops! We don’t pay much attention to ratings, but unfortunately a lot of other people do. We then immediately contacted Arbitron and asked them to send our device, and it took a while for their technical people and ours to get the device properly installed.

The September cume PPM’s only measured La Invasora for 6 days out of the month. That’s why our cume was just 0.2. We feel that we’re still somewhat under counted, simply because we suspect that our listeners are under sampled among the PPM meter holders, but I think that finally October shows ratings for La Invasora are more reflective of reality. Just wanted to share with you that it wasn’t simply from nowhere.

We feel that our combination of Regional Mexican music and talk is the right mix and expect our audience will continue to grow.

In October, La Invasora racked up a 1.0 share, which of course came out of everyone else’s hides. (That’s among listeners 6 or older, not the prime ad-buying 25-54 demographic.) Ratings are not everything in radio sales — ultimately, advertisers only care about moving product — but they’re a powerful proxy, especially for national advertisers who buy audience by the point.

By the way, La Invasora bested ideological warhorses AM950 and The Patriot, which is interesting since I’m guessing many in the latter’s conservative audience want some La Invasora listeners ejected from the Twin Cities market, not to mention the country.

I wonder if there are any other small players out there with similar transition issues?

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Annalise Cudahy on 11/09/2009 - 10:02 am.

    ¡La Raza no es oculto por más tiempo!

    This is fascinating news. I would venture to guess that, for all the billboards around town and buzz that they generate, the left and right talk shows have even lower ratings than we thought.

    If there are a few more small stations that do not have the right gizmos, there is a reasonable chance that they add up to a decent percentage of all listeners taken together, bringing everyone’s totals down just a tiny bit. This effect would seem even more important on the low end.

    This is not surprising, since ideological blogs have terrible traffic rankings as measured by alexa. So does larger media tend pay more attention to what they have to say than, for example, La Invasora? Probably because they say things that are inflammatory and fit into what people already believe.

    Wait, that’s Eric Black’s schtick. 🙂

  2. Submitted by Peter Swanson on 11/09/2009 - 10:55 am.

    “…which is interesting since I’m guessing many in the latter’s conservative listeners want some La Invasora listeners ejected from the Twin Cities market, not to mention the country.”

    This comment relies upon a double stereotype. The first stereotype is that it is common for listeners of a Spanish-language broadcast to be in this country illegally (I know the quote says “some” but the stereotype is the only way the comment makes sense). The second stereotype is that conservative talk radio listeners (“many”)would believe the first stereotype.

    I am not judging, just pointing it out. Also, we should not stereotype AM radio, as it is broadcast in mono.

  3. Submitted by Mitch Berg on 11/09/2009 - 03:27 pm.

    Y’know, Brauer, that’s one things I always respected about you; in 20 years of reading you, you may have been the one “reporter” in the Twin Cities who never claimed to be “objective”, detached or unbiased. Indeed, you have always worn your biases on your sleeve.

    Which is why I can read you writing this kind of thing – “I’m guessing many in [AM1280 The Patriot]’s conservative listeners want some La Invasora listeners ejected from the Twin Cities market, not to mention the country” – and just shake my head and go “There goes David, again!”

    As Mr. Swanson noted, it’s fascinating you’d presume either that “La Invasora’s” listeners were illegals, or that Patriot listeners want Hispanic listeners tossed on principle (notwithstanding the fact that most of us are aware that *legal* Hispanic immigrants are, within 2-3 generations, more likely than not to be Republicans), or that you believe our listeners are more likely to be bigoted against immigrants than AM950’s listeners. (I mean, David – have you ever sat in on a union meeting?)

    Congrats to my old rhetorical sparring partner Mr. Monserrate. La Invasora is a fun listen for this anglo.

    Disclosure: Along with Ed Morrissey, I host a show at the Patriot. And I’ll put the egalitarianism, to say nothing of the quality, of the show up against anything on the air in the Twin Cities commercial OR public media.


  4. Submitted by David Brauer on 11/09/2009 - 05:51 pm.

    Mitch – I do listen to the Patriot. I think it’s a reasonable conjecture that some La Invasora listeners are undocumented, and there’s no doubt most (all?) Patriot hosts/listeners want them expelled.


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