A Day in the Life of PPM

 In Blog

by Jon Miller, Director of Programming Services at Arbitron

Earlier this summer when I spoke at the Morning Show Boot Camp in Miami, I used the opportunity to reinforce the importance of daily occasions in PPM. Particularly among your primary (P1) audience, ratings success is directly tied to the number of times your listeners tune to the station every day.

You can take almost any top-performing show, daypart, or station in PPM and find that they are most likely leading the pack in daily occasions, which significantly impacts Time Spent Listening (TSL).

To illustrate this relationship, let’s start by looking at three successful morning shows where you can clearly see that the daily P1 Cume generates a large chunk of their overall audience.


We’ve always known that P1 (or “first preference”) listeners are of utmost importance for any station, because they spend more time with your station than any other. Their time spent listening sets them apart from the general audience.


But PPM has taught us that the longer time spent generated by P1s is not just a function of how long they tune in each time. To back up for a second, TSL is a combination of two factors: Durations (how long you listen each time) and Occasions (how many times you listen). You’ll see in the following slide that for these morning shows, the P1 audience is not listening significantly longer each time they tune in.


In fact, if you broaden the sample to include other morning shows from around the country, the same pattern emerges. This also holds true for other dayparts; P1s in the PPM world are not spending dramatically more time tuning to the station each time they flip the dial.


What they ARE doing is tuning in more often, generating more occasions each day; a key element of PPM ratings success.


This is because it’s harder than we thought to keep listeners tuned in to the station longer than their schedules or preferences allow. Life happens (the phone rings, the commute ends, a song starts that they don’t prefer) and people tune out for thousands of reasons that are beyond our control. What we can impact is convincing listeners to come back for another “occasion” of listening.


Jon-Miller.pngJon Miller is a 10-year veteran of the radio industry and the Director of Programming Services at Arbitron. He oversees the entirety of Arbitron’s Programming efforts from developing software to offering training and insights for PDs and consultants. Prior to this role Miller served for 5 years as an embedded PPM specialist with CBS Radio, on behalf of Arbitron, as the industry transitioned from Diary to electronic measurement.  He has previously worked for Clear Channel and Westwood One, and began his career as an overnight board-op in Washington, DC. He can be reached at jon.miller@arbitron.com or by leaving a comment below.

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