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?