Update: New Radio Ratings System

The New Year has shed new light on the new system used to measure ratings in major market radio across the country, including Detroit.

As we first told you last Fall, Detroit is the latest market where the Arbitron ratings service has abandoned a system used for generations in which listeners would record their habits, as best as they could, in paper diaries.  Now, survey participants carry pager-sized Portable People Meters (PPMs).  It’s a whole new game.

This report from Radio-Info.com shows the first PPM report from Detroit’s sample of late 2008.  The number one station, far and away, was WNIC-FM, playing all Christmas music.  You will also see that, as expected, rock, CHR (“Top 40”), sports and information stations also fared well.

We’ll keep an eye on these trends for you. But, we’re also looking for changes beyond the ratings numbers themselves.  We still expect at least one format change to take place in the first part of this year.  We are also paying attention to how stations are tweaking their sound.  Already, they are taking steps to “stick to format” and decrease button-pushing as the PPM monitors everything the listener hears.