Use the Latest Nielsen Survey to Your Advantage


(By Charlie Sislen) I hate the old phrase, “perception is reality.” Sometimes it is necessary to combat certain perceptions with facts and data. The roads are emptier than a year ago and offices are less occupied. Some believe this means that the people in their market are no longer listening to radio. This is a perception we need to dispel with facts.

It comes back to the basics. Don’t talk about your station or even your cluster. Talk about radio and how many people are tuning to radio on a weekly and daily basis. Daily cume is a standard estimate in PPM markets and can be calculated in diary markets as well.

Even before sharing your objective, I suggest leading with a bold statement: “In an average week, X% of potential consumers are tuning to radio. Even on a daily basis, X% of consumers are coming to radio.” (Fill in with your local market’s data.) This data, if you are looking at recent surveys, includes a period of time where fewer businesses were operating at maximum capacity. Lifestyles and daily activities have changed, but radio continues to be a vital part of everyone’s reality. People are still consuming radio; they are just consuming it differently.

While radio’s typical massive reach may be down somewhat in your market, it is still an impressive number. Deliver this statement with pride.

As most sales people know, this is not a time to focus on GRPs or CPP. It is a time to sell the power of radio and what your station/cluster means to the community. What you mean to the community is more important than ever before.

Radio is in a unique position. For decades we have taken advantage of our in-car and at-work listening. And, I believe this listening will return when the economy fully reopens. Until then, we need to document that our medium remains relevant and important in today’s changing environment.

Charlie Sislen is a partner at Research Director, Inc. He can be reached at 410-956-0363 or by e-mail at [email protected]. This essay is part of a series titled “Growing the Radio Pie.” To view past articles, visit The Ratings Experts at Research Director, Inc. online here.


  1. Maybe I have been misinformed, but I was under the impression that Cume is the actual measurement and all of the others are calculated based on the Cume measurement. Cume doesn’t have to be calculated in Diary Markets because it is the basic measurement that all of the others depend on for their existence.

    If I am mistaken, please help me to understand how it works because it would be very helpful for me to understand where I went astray and to correct my perception.

    Thank you!
    Tom Steele


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