Clear Channel Radio Seeks New Radio Ratings System

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) —

Clear Channel Radio has issued a request for proposals to create a state-of-the-art radio ratings system that will accurately and credibly represent radio's true performance and value to advertisers. "Ratings as they exist today are part of an antiquated system," said Kathy Crawford, president of local broadcast for leading media-buying company MindShare. "Since there are new technologies available, we at MindShare believe there must be a better way to build this mouse trap."

"Radio is a powerful, effective medium whose influence and reach have been underreported and diluted," said John Hogan, CEO of Clear Channel Radio. "In discussions with other radio groups, it's become clear that a different approach is needed to find an industry-wide solution. We want to investigate those options. Every time radio's performance and value is measured accurately, we absolutely shine."

The list of independent studies that prove radio is a superior performer — and at a superior value — to television and other advertising options continues to grow. Over the past several months, a number of independent studies have shown that radio offers better performance and more value for advertisers' dollars. Some examples:

  • Earlier this week, a study conducted by venerable consumer-research house Millward Brown found that radio outperformed television in driving sales of advertiser products/services by some 49%. Further, the study was the first head-to-head comparison of television and radio, looking at 30-second spots for each — and confirming the effectiveness of 30-second radio commercials.
  • In August, a study from The Wirthlin Group showed that radio connects with listeners on an emotional level at least as well as television and much more so than newspapers.
  • Also in 2004, the Radio Advertising Effectiveness Lab tested the impact of replacing one of two television or newspaper ads with two ads on radio. Swapping a TV ad for two radio ads increased unaided brand recall a full 34% and more people chose the advertised brand as their first-choice product.

    "We've moved aggressively on many fronts to improve Clear Channel Radio's accountability to advertisers and we fully support all efforts to gather accurate information about radio advertising," added Hogan. "But as an industry, we need to make quicker progress. Advertisers and media buyers deserve credible, accurate information on radio's value. Something as powerful as radio needs powerful, technologically current evaluations."

    Personal diaries — where listeners must manually recall and record what radio stations they've listened to during a given day — has been the only ratings-system research method available to media buyers to measure the effectiveness of radio for nearly 40 years. Further, results are received up to a month after the end of the data-collection process. The accuracy and credibility of the diary method has come under increasing skepticism over the past several years. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen