5 Tips to Getting Ratings Credit for Podcasts

 In Blog

by Randy Lane, Stan Main, Angela Perelli and Stephanie Winans

Did you know that in order for your morning show podcast to get credit with Arbitron, the podcast (if you post a whole hour or whole show) has to contain 100% of the broadcast audio including commercials?  We didn’t either.

Not only are you not getting any ratings value if you’re posting your entire show online; you could potentially be losing ratings by providing your morning show on-demand, commercial free.

Why might you still want to do a full podcast even without ratings credit?

  • To please the P1s who can’t listen to the entire show live by providing it on demand
  • To drive traffic and increase page views and hits to your website
  • To sell ads and/or sponsorships of the podcast page on the website

Here are five things you can do to get ratings credit for podcasts:

1. Take short excerpts of content (at least five minutes; less than 10 minutes) from the encoded broadcast (not from the stream). You can have a great segment of the show that leads up to or follows commercials (minus the commercials) as your podcast.

Ratings Tip: The podcast has to be at least five minutes long to get credit for a quarter-hour in Arbitron.

Tech Tip: Cut the podcast down to mono to reduce the file size by 50%. Since these segments will likely be talk, there is no need for them to be in stereo.

Upside: Short podcasts enable listeners to download and forward them to friends as part of your viral marketing strategy.

2. Share exceptional segments with your fan base via social networks and loyal listener email. Since P1 listeners tend to be active on station online platforms, the podcast will likely get some click-throughs, and we can only hope that a few of those listeners will have a meter.

3.  Stress the urgency of listening to the podcast within 24 hours, because Arbitron tallies the data daily. If someone listens to that A-list interview or compelling segment next week, you do not get credit. Eric Rowe, from the Roula & Ryan Show, KRBE/Houston, swears that their strategy of posting the daily War of the Roses segment “only until midnight” has increased ratings. Check out more on this strategy here.

4. Your podcast must be encoded with the broadcast encoder. Arbitron provides a separate encoder for your radio station’s stream and the station’s broadcast. If your podcast is coded with your station’s stream encoder or no encoder, you won’t get credit.

5. Be careful about airing an excerpt from another radio show. For example, If Rush Limbaugh goes on a controversial rant and you rebroadcast it, a PPM panelist’s meter will likely pick up two codes and you are likely to lose credit for listening.

If you are in a diary market, here’s what you need to know:

  • If a listener writes in their diary they listened to your station without noting it was a podcast or stream, you will get credit in Arbitron. At present, the diary only has a time entry and does not ask the diary keeper to specify if the listening took place on the station broadcast, internet stream or from a podcast.


  • If the diary keeper writes down your website, e.g. “wabb.com,” or the name of your podcast, “QTip and Nick’s podcast” for example, you will not get credit for the listening.

KEEP IN MIND: Streaming and podcasting continue to comprise less than 1% of listening according to the latest study by Arbitron.

If you have questions about any of this information, read Arbitron’s PPM Policy Brief on Time-Shifted Listening here or contact us.


If you’re in radio in Canada, stay tuned for an article on podcasting and BBM.

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