Nigerian Email

I received an email from someone in Nigeria saying that I can make money by helping him transfer money out of Nigeria.  The email sounds legitimate, but it asks for my bank account number and that sounds a bit odd to me.  Do you know if this is for real? - Anonymous


Anon:  Donít make me come out there.  This ďNigerianĒ email has been making the rounds on the Internet for a few years and it is a 100% scam.  Donít respond to itÖand never give personal information to someone you donít know.  Just hit your delete button if you see this email in your mailbox.


For more information, go to: and,23008,3396766,00.html.

Night Show Ideas

Iím a night jock at a CHR in a small market. Iím looking for some new night show ideas (besides a nightly countdown) for on air giveaways. Is there a web site that has ideas for on-air contest/games? If you have ideas, that would be great too. Thanks! - Anonymous


Anon: If you do a search on Google for "radio show ideas," youíll find many listings. In addition, you can go to the "Industry Links" on All Access (at the left of the page) and click on "Show Prep and Entertainment."


Ideas from me? I would ask my listeners what they would like to hear. Ask them to call in. You might get a good suggestion.

Nostalgia Radio Station Jingles

Is it better to change the jingles that are produced for a radio station that plays the old stuff? If so, what kind of jingles in terms of production should be used? If not, how does a station keep the jingles from sounding too stale? - Bob


Bob: If you read this column regularly, I know Iíll sound like a broken record (one of those vinyl discs) and youíll probably hate me, but . . .

My opinions donít matter because Iím not one of your listeners. You must ask them.


A friend of mine said that he saw information on the Internet saying that Nostradamus predicted the 9-11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.  Is that true? - Anonymous

Anon:  Here is a one word answer about the prediction: Garbage.  I'll use the same wordógarbageófor anything Nostradamus supposedly predicted.  Nostradamus was the "Miss Cleo" of his day.  He didn't predict anything.

Michel de Nostredame (aka Nostradamus) was a French astrologer and physician who lived from 1503 to 1566.  Nostradamus wrote his ďpredictionsĒ in 4-line poems called quatrains.  The quatrains are completely ambiguous and unspecific, and people for centuries have claimed that he has predicted every major event in the world.  Hogwash.  I'll say it againóNostradamus didnít (and couldnít) predict anything.

Richard Lowe, Jr. wrote a great explanation about Nostradamusí World Trade Center ďprediction.Ē  You can read it by clicking here: Prediction.

Not Legal for Trade (Trade for a Scale?)

Hey Doc!  I have this bathroom scale (hardly used) and it reads ďNOT LEGAL FOR TRADEĒ on the weight dial (right above the suggested max. weight).  Does this mean I canít trade the scale for my friendís Walkman?  Or is it some sort of complicated NAFTA thing? Thanks! - Aaron


Aaron:  Hey Aaron!  Donít make me come out there.  The ďNOT LEGAL FOR TRADEĒ has nothing to do with you trading the scale for another item.  It means that you canít use the scale for commerce.  Bathroom scales are not very accurate and they are not intended for use in buying or selling merchandise.  For example, if you sell tomatoes by the pound, it isnít legal to use a bathroom scale to weigh the tomatoes.

Notepad - Great Idea

I have a great idea for an invention.  Well, itís really not an invention, but I think it is an idea for a product that would sell a lot.  The idea came to me when I was using one of those ďpost-it noteĒ type notepad blocks and I couldnít find a pen after I tore off one of the little sheets.  I thought it would be a great idea to make a notepad block that has a hole in it to hold a pen.  No more looking for a pen to write the note!  What do you think, Doc? - James

James:    I really hate to burst your creative bubble, but as I read your note, I looked to the right side of my desk and stared at this:

Itís a notepad block with a hole cut in to hold a pen.  My wife is a dermatologist and she gets a lot of this kind of stuff from drug representatives.  This block/pen holder advertises a cream used to control Rosacea (a form of adult acne).

Now, donít let that spoil your urge to develop other ideas.  By the way, on the bottom of the cube it says, NoteStix ASI/74357.  I put that into a Google search and found this information: RediForm.

Another by the wayÖif you have what you think is a unique idea, then donít share it with the public.  The only reason why Iím posting your question and my answer is because I knew the product was already available.


Doc:  Every so often when I go to a website or click on a link, it shows the letters "NSFW."  What do those letters stand for? - Anonymous

Anon: The letters mean, Not Safe For Workóa warning for people who work in an environment where there are rules about what is appropriate or inappropriate to view on the Internet while working.  You'll also occasionally see SFW, which obviously means Safe For Work.


NSFW is also helpful for adults who may have children wandering around who may see the monitor.  The warning means that the website or link contains nudity or other material that may not be suitable for young kids.

NTR Departments

I work at an advertising agency. I am putting together information for our clients on non-traditional revenue (NTR) and the demise of "value-added." I am creating a timeline beginning with the emergence of the LMAs to the Telecommunications Act of Ď96. I also would like to show how owner groups merged to form larger companies thereby enabling them to set polices and procedures across the country.  Where is the most effective place to seek this information? I need to time-lines and how NTR departments were formed. Thank you in advance for your assistance.  - Anonymous


Anon: You can find answers to all three questions with creative searching on Google.


Search for things like:

The key to finding things on the Internet is to use your imagination with search engines. Youíll be amazed at what you can find if you use the correct words in your search.

Null Hypothesis

Would you explain what a null hypothesis is? - Anonymous

Anon: In experimental research, the null hypothesis is the hypothesis of "no difference." Thatís what a researcher really tests in an experiment. The goal is to reject the null, and accept one or more statistical hypotheses.

For example, letís say that you want to conduct an experiment to determine if your new TV spot encourages your cume to listen more often to your radio station. Because itís an experiment, youíll have to use two groups: One group watches your new spot; the second group acts as a control and doesnít watch the spot.

Your statistical hypothesis would be something like, "Exposure to the new TV spot will increase TSL to our radio station." The null hypothesis is just the opposite and would be something like, "Exposure to the new TV spot will NOT increase TSL to our radio station." (Iím making this very simplistic.)

Now, letís say that you conduct your experiment and find out that the TV spot does in fact increase TSL (assuming that you have controlled all intervening or confounding variables.) If this is the case, then you reject the null hypothesis (no TSL increase) and accept the statistical hypothesis (increased TSL). Got it? Or did you fall asleep?

By the way, I have left out the part about setting a significance level for testing, such as 95% or 99%. Thatís another subject.

Number Game Ė Math Trick

One of my friends showed me this math trick:  Take any number, double it, add 10, divide by 2, and subtract the original number.  The answer is always 5.  Why is that?  I mean, why does that always work? - Anonymous


Anon:  To quote former president Ronald Reagan, ďWell . . .Ē  (End of quote.)  You can see why the formula always produces the number ď5Ē if you look closely at each step:

  1. Take any number.  Sounds mysterious, like a ďMiss CleoĒ prediction.

  2. Double it.  Appears to add complexity, but doesnít mean much.

  3. Add 10.  Adds more ďcomplexity.Ē

  4. Divide by two.  Cancels out the doubling in Step 2 and reduces the ďAdd 10Ē in Step 3 to adding only ď5Ē to the original number in Step 1.

  5. Subtract the original number.  Sounds really mysterious now.

  6. Answer is always 5.  It has to be 5 because that is what is added to the original number in Step 4.  When the original number is subtracted, the remainder is 5.  Thatís the only number it can be.

The formula works for any number from 0 to infinity.

Number of Perceptual Studies

How many perceptual studies should a radio station do each year? - Peter

Peter: Iím not sure if there is a rule carved in stone, but I can give you some examples.

Generally speaking, most radio stations in small and medium markets conduct one major perceptual study each year. Radio stations in larger markets will generally conduct two studies each year.

The larger market FM radio stations tend to conduct a format study (respondents must cume a format to qualify) and a cume study (respondents must cume specific stations to qualify). Each of these studies provides a different look at the market.

The larger market AM radio stations tend to conduct a format or cume study and a personality study, which is a detailed investigation of the stationís personalitiesóan AM radio stationís equivalent to a "music test."

Then there always the smaller studies that come up to answer specific questions that arise during the year.

I should add that itís best to conduct your perceptual study or studies at the same time each year so you donít have problems related to seasonal listening differences.

Number of Promos

Is there a theory as to how many times you should run a promo? For instance: If we want to promote the weekends specialty show during the week how many times should I run the spot? Once a daypart? one every 5 hours? 40 times a week? I have little over a 3-hour average TSL if that helps. Thanks. - LC


LC: You have asked (probably unknowingly) a question about a very complex issue.


The difficulty arises because you are dealing with human beings and we are different in many waysóone of which is the time it takes each of us to learn something. What you are trying to do with your promos is teach people something. Some people will learn your information after only one exposure, some may need 10 exposures, some may need 100 or more, and some may never learn.


While many "experts" claim that 3 exposures is all that is needed to persuade (communicate) a message to someone, there is no evidence to support this. The clear fact is that we donít know how many exposures all people need to learn something. With that in mind, itís best to hammer away with your message as often as you can.

Number of Questions

How many questions can you ask in a perceptual study? - Carole

Carole: It depends on what type of questions you ask. The range is from 1 to maybe 100 depending on what you ask.

Itís best to design questionnaires by time. You should keep your questionnaire to about 17 minutes. After 17 minutes you start to get "breakoffs," the term used to describe respondents who refuse to continue and hang up the telephone.

Number of Radio Stations

How many radio stations are there in the United States?  Thanks. - Anonymous


Anon:  The most current information from the FCC is December 2004.  For the information, click here.

Number of Radio Stations Owned - Research

With one company owning so many stations in a market, is it necessary to do as much research as before? - Carrie

Carrie: I canít find anything anywhere that says that owning several radio stations in a market automatically grants the owner the knowledge of what the listeners want to hear.

Number of Songs

When we promote the amount of music we play, what is best to useÖa statement about the number of songs in a row or a statement about the number of minutes of music? - Anonymous


Anon: You need to ask your listeners this question. However, I can tell you from testing this for many years, that the number of songs in a row doesnít mean much to most radio listenersóregardless of format. If the amount of music is important to listeners, they tend to agree that a mention of the number of minutes of music per hour seems to carry the most weight.


With that said, I have found that ambiguous messages, such as "Another more music hour," are the most effective. Ambiguous messages allow each listener to interpret the message in his/her own way.

Number of Websites

Doc:  Do you know how many websites there are on the Internet? - Anonymous


Anon: The answer to your question is a bit complicated.  If you look on the Internet for your answer, you'll find that estimates vary from about 50 million to over 2 billion websites.  Something don't be right.


I think the problem relates to the definition of "website."  My guess is that the high-end estimate (over 2 billion) includes website directories, or unique website pages (or something).  I believe the correct approach is to look at the number of active registered domain names, and that's what WhoIs does.  According to their daily domain count, there are about 60 million active domain names.  (Check the site for current information.)

Number 1 Radio Station

Hey, Docólove the column! Trying to remove myself from the biz for a moment, the following question arose: Do listeners care that a station is, or says, itís #1? I was listening to our competitor, and they proclaim to be #1. While it does make them sound larger than life (even though WE are ahead of them in Arbitron), does a listener care? There is loyalty to morning shows, but isn't true that if two stations in the same market play almost the exact same music that most listeners will flip between the two (and other stations) for their favorite songs? To make my rambling end, what do listeners think of stations that claim to be #1? - Anonymous


Anon: Iím glad you enjoy the column. Thanks for the comment.  Your question is great and it forced me to go to my files to see the results for this question (I have asked this in focus groups and perceptual studies).


Now, keep in mind that the results probably donít relate to your market (you need to ask your own listeners), but when I have asked the question about being #1 (in a variety of ways), the listeners donít place much importance on the claim. What I have found is that proclaiming to be Number 1 seems to pump up only those who are doing the proclaiming (and advertising agency copywriters who are trying to stroke the client).


I may be taking a quantum leap here, and youíre only a sample of one, but does it matter to you that McDonaldís is Number One? Or American Airlines? Or Snickers candy bars? If you are typical, my guess is your answer is something like, "I know what I like and donít care if itís Number One or Number 14.


NowÖthat doesnít mean that itís wrong to say that youíre Number One (if itís true). Iím sure there are some people who attribute some type of importance to such a statement, but I havenít found them yet. I have found that "chest beating" about being Number One is important primarily to the people who make the claim.


In addition, Avis found that it was very successful to say, "Weíre Number Two and we try Harder!"


In reference to you second point, yes, most people do have a favorite radio station, but most people flip back and forth for music, personalities, and other things. Itís too easy with push buttons (and remote controls for TV) to change to another station or channel. My experience in asking people these types of questions shows that many people evaluate whether to stay with a program in five seconds or less.

Number Who Listen

We are currently running a promotion to find out how many listeners we have. We have had a great response over the last two weeks, but we still wonder how many more out there are there? How can we tell how many are there total? I think the 10% rule still holds true. What do you think? - Joe


Joe: You donít tell me a lot in your question, so I have to guess. I assume your promotion is something youíre doing on the airómaybe asking people to call in, send an email, or even send a letter to your radio station telling you that they are a listener. Is that correct?


I also assume that when you refer to the 10% "rule," that you refer to the idea from the 1930s and 1940s that you can multiply each listener response times 10 to give you a rough idea of how many listeners you have. Thatís a little different from the way you state it, but thatís the "rule" I know.


So those are my guesses, and here are my answers.

There are two ways for you to estimate the number of listeners you have:

While it is virtually impossible for you to know the exact number of listeners, the only viable was to estimate the number is to randomly select a sample of people from the target population. Your promotion idea is good for PR, but itís not scientifically valid and should not be presented or interpreted as such. These results are similar to radio and TV stations that ask people to log on to their website and vote for one thing or another. The results are good only to estimate the number of volunteers to decide to cast their voteónot to generalize to the population.


Unfortunately, the radio and TV stations that conduct these volunteer polls present them as scientific data. What they should say when presenting the results is something like, "In our unscientific poll of non-randomly selected listeners/viewers, 40% said that they donít want the city to spend money for a new football stadium. These results may or may not reflect the attitudes of the residents in the area, and we cannot provide a sampling error for interpretation. In other words, our poll was for entertainment purposes only and means nothing."


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