We’re not talking about how to read a monthly, or the definition of AWTE, or anything like that.
We’re talking about the process, the critical things that happen behind the curtain. For example:
Q: How loud does the radio station have to be playing before the meter can identify the station?
A: Arbitron refused to say when it rolled out PPM, and no official test results have ever been released. The only independent test was done by British broadcasters when they were considering using Arbitron.
They played a radio at a level of 45-75db and tested whether the meter could successfully detect which radio station was playing.
In a quiet room with the radio playing at 75db, the meter successfully identified the radio station 73% of the time.
With the radio playing at the lowest level in a room where the ambient noise was about the same level as the radio station, the meter was able to successfully identify the radio station only 24% of the time.
To give you an idea of what the levels represent, 75db is the sound of a vacuum cleaner at 10 feet. The ambient noise level in a (silent) conference room is a little under 45db.
So for the meter to accurately identify your radio station, just hope that the panelist is sitting in a silent room with the radio cranked. That way the meter will only miss a quarter of the credit you deserve.
In coming posts we’ll have additional questions to see how much you really know about what’s behind PPM’s curtain.