Denver wingnut radio audiences shrink under new ratings technology

Americans love the hate radio… Or maybe a lot fewer people love it than we’ve been led to believe.

The Denver Post reports that Arbitron, the Nielson ratings of radio, has come up with a new computerized device said to more accurately reflect the listening habits of sample groups. Arbitron’s Portable People Meter or PPM is quickly sketching a new topography of listenership in the Denver area.

According to Arbitron’s new numbers, KOA-850 conservative talk show host Mike Rosen is playing to only half the number of listeners his advertisers were led to believe he drew every day. KHOW-630, which hosts “anti- illegal immigration” host Peter Boyles and Denver’s own Hannity and Colmes, Caplis and Silverman, fell from number 15 to somewhere below the top 20.

How does the meter work? Essentially, it is a small receiver that picks up embedded signals in the audio waves of each station. The Arbitron volunteer, who is paid to wear the pager-sized receiver on their waist, then simply listens to whatever they want and the meter records and sends this information to Arbitron.

The new computerized system replaces an old monitoring system where participants were asked to log their radio listening hours throughout the day. Arbitron felt this method created inaccuracies because people would forget what they were listening to. In addition, the old system reported on quarterly basis whereas Arbitron has now decided to begin creating reports on a weekly basis.

While there are some questions regarding the methodology of the week-old program, it is clear that a number of paychecks could see some tapering if, come Oct. 9, when Colorado officially starts using the numbers from the new system, hate doesn’t translate into advertising dollars.

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Joseph Boven

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