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Two realities facing radio today:

1. Radio is going through its biggest change since the arrival of television.  New digital alternatives are re-shaping the role that radio plays in listeners’ lives. Meanwhile, PPM is changing the rules of the game.

2. Yet, research for radio remains much the same as it was 30 or 40 years ago. Music testing and perceptual studies continue to focus on the station across the street rather than the new, larger competitive landscape. And sales research still largely consists of re-casting ratings results.

What information does today’s broadcaster need? What tried-and-true techniques are still relevant, and which ones have lost their edge? Where are you seeing genuine insights on how people are listening to radio today? And, oh yeah, how do we do all this on shrinking budgets?

These are the issues that Re-Inventing Radio Research plans to address. It’s not a platform for punditry — there are plenty of those already, most of them very good. And, while radio pundits will no doubt weigh in from time-to-time, it’s not about having all the answers, but working towards doing a better job of asking the right questions.

Re-Inventing Radio Research is intended to be an open conversation. Comments are welcome. And so are contributors. If you would like to be a regular or semi-regular contributor providing your perspective, asking questions of other readers or sharing insights, send me an email at jeff.vidler@visioncritical.com.

Categories: State of research Tags: ,
  1. johnmus
    July 18, 2011 at 22:15

    Good topics Jeff, and definitely a lot of discussion could be had around those. I know that I faced that challenge when coming to Austereo (Australia) here about 7 years ago and I was inspired by one of my favourite research quotes….

    “He uses statistics as a drunken man uses a lamp post…for support rather than illumination.” Mark Twain or George Bernard Shaw

    I’d love to hear any others as well…maybe we should have a relevant quotes section!

    But, back to the story. With a focus on the future and realising we had to take some risks, we decided to go to online research well before anyone even believed you could get usable research off it. We developed our own online communities for research purposes only and now have about 120,000 of them in 5 markets around Australia.They have created a great ability to tap into important information now, and it costs very little. We drive content and sales research through this, and in fact our sales research is out stripping everything.

    When I set up the research team 7 years ago, 100% of what we were doing was researching content for our on air product. Today, about 30% of our resource goes into that (which is still about 2 times more than we did 7 years ago) and about 60% goes into Sales Research and about 10% into what we call “Big Picture” research…more the big industry insights and future predicting.

    So I can certainly vouch for the ‘change’ element, but I can also observe from our own experiences, that it’s an exciting time with some great new innovations that ensure the research of today meets the needs of tomorrow.

    I’d love ot hear more of people’s impressions about radio/media/entertainment research today and how they are innovating to keep up with the change.


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