Radio stations rely on listening audiences to determine if a format is effective. With the introduction of Portable People Meter (PPM), it is possible to measure radio ratings and listenership much quicker than before. With this quick response, programmers have an easier time determining what moves the needle in terms of audiences.
According to MediaPost, some radio stations have flipped formats to include “classic hip-hop.” While historically urban format stations have not fared well with PPM markets, there seems to be a trend of growing ratings and listeners with the switch. The New York Times was first to report that a station in Houston, TX changed a news format to classic hip-hop. Results showed average audiences go from 245,000 to 802,000.
Other radio stations have started converting fledgling dial positions since Houston’s KROI-FM did so in October last year.
For media buyers, the key is tracking radio stations in the markets. If the ratings have dropped or skyrocketed in a target demographic, find out why. It may be because of a format change, which may need to be approved by the client to buy, or it could be another seasonal factor like carrying sports games or playing Christmas music. Whatever the case, an advertiser needs to know what station and what format is being purchased.