Indie 103.1 FM was indeed a favorite station of mine and on Thursday it crumbled to the ground thanks to the all new Arbitron approved PPM meters. Oh how those tiny little meters have changed radio across the land. It almost wants me to scream for the ol school diary days.
For those that are out of the loop....PPM meters are the new Arbitron diaries. How radio is rated is random people from all random ranges are asked to wear these little meters (about the size of a pager) on them at all times of the day. What happens is that the meter picks up on all radio signals and makes a record of what that person listened to/at what times/for how long..etc. It used to be that people would recieve diaries (surveys) in the mail and they would fill them out and mail them back....and that was how radio was rated.
Keep in mind that broadcasters make their contracts based on ratings....everything is based on them in fact. People who work in sales bring paperwork of ratings in every imaginable demo (market) to prospective sponsors for advertising.
Now PPM is the new big thing....Arbitron believes it gives a better gague on who listens to what and we can get a better sense of how a radio station really rates.
We used to complain in the business that diaries weren't the way to go cause people would fill the thing out and just put "all day" on it or draw a line down which in turn tells arbitron that you listen all day everyday.
Now PPM's are a little controversial because like the diary where people weren't guaranteed to fill em out in the first place......PPM meters must be worn to record.
Now, I'm a 27 year old male who listens to alot of radio.....If I was asked to wear something on me for an extended period of time just so some guy sitting behind a mic can make a few extra dollars....like you....I probably would mail it back or disregard it all together.
This I believe is what caused the fall of Indie 103.1. You're asking young adults who listen to alternative/rock music to wear a pager at all times? Come on....
Common sense would tell you that's not going to happen....yet Entravision who owns Indie 103.1 decided to hold a meeting on Thursday and fire everybody.
From a person in a market that uses PPM.....GM's and PD's shouldn't be so quick on the trigger finger. This technology isn't even a year old yet in Chicago, yet PD's and GM's are making staff changes to "improve programming."
Just like everything else, you need to give it time. At least a year for gosh sakes. But I guess with a sluggish economy, CEO's not willing to take a pay cut to save people's jobs/lively-hood and big time business running radio (not neccessarily understanding how to run it however), it's a bad time to be unique in a world where it seems it's all the same already.
God bless stations like Indie 103.1 FM......unfortunate for them to be cast off like they were, but that's business...right?