Part-time Teenagers

I'm not sure if you can help with my question, but you said that you'd try to answer anything.  The owner of our radio station is involved in education in a variety of ways, and one thing he has done was to establish an internship program with one local high school.  Each semester, we have 4 or 5 juniors and seniors work for six hours each week doing a variety of things at the radio station.  Most of the work is "go-fer" stuff, but each person also has specific responsibilities each week.

 

Here's the problem.  Most of the kids are good workers and it is nice to have them here for their help.  The problem is that they don't remember anything.  They each have certain responsibilities, but I find myself having to explain the responsibilities over and over again.  Do you know if there is any way to get them to remember what they're supposed to do?  I think I have tried everything, but nothing seems to work. - Anonymous

 

Anon: You'll notice that I edited some of your question because you put in information about your radio station that I don't think needs to be publicized.  Anyway, I was laughing as I was reading your question.  My guess is that you don't have any children, or if you do, they aren't teenagers.  Before I get to my suggestion, I'd like to provide a little background.

 

First, if you have been reading this column for a while, you have probably seen me write this phrase a few times: Having kids is like being nibbled to death by ducks.  Changing a few words makes the phrase relevant to your situation:  Working with kids is like being nibbled to death by ducks.  This is the first part of my background before I get to my suggestion.

 

The second relates to human memory.  (Stay with me here, I'm getting to your answer.)  Most people have amazing brains because they can remember a lot of information.  We don't know anything when we're born, but we learn all sorts of amazing things as we grow.  Then we get old, and unfortunately our memories fade.  In some unfortunate situations, people are afflicted with the devastating ailment called Alzheimer's Disease, where there may be an almost total loss of (at least) short-term memory, so bad that these folks can't remember things from one minute to the next.  Right now, as you probably know, there is no cure for Alzheimer's Disease.  I needed to bring up Alzheimer's because it relates to your answer.

 

Now, I'm not a medical doctor, so don't interpret my comments as medical facts, but I think neurologists and other people involved in human memory (and Alzheimer's), have overlooked a significant stage of memory development in our lives—our teenage years.  I have a theory about this.

 

The name of my theory is Teenheimer's Disease.  The disease is a memory-related disease, and by virtue of its name, affects only teenagers, plus or minus 2 years, although I think there is a possibility that some people may experience Teenheimer's into or throughout adulthood.  Let me discuss some background of this disease.

 

When we are young children, we make virtually no decisions.  We are told when to eat, sleep, play, go to school, go to grandma's house, and everything else.  Then we reach the age of 13 (or so) and become able to make at least some rudimentary decisions about our lives and lifestyles.  We're cool, or so we think.  The problem is that memory during our teenage years doesn't function like a finely tuned watch.  In fact, teenage memory probably functions more like a finely tuned sundial.  This relates to a concept known as Persistence of Memory, which relates to how long we can remember information.  Most adults, for example, have good Persistence of Memory.  We can remember things like the day the trash is picked up from our house, or that it's good to take a shower every day, and that food doesn't automatically appear on the kitchen table each day.

 

Teenagers, however, since they all have various degrees of Teenheimer's Disease, cannot remember these things.  Their Persistence of Memory is very short, or maybe even non-existent.  The trash may be picked up on Wednesday of this week, but there is no Persistence of Memory when the next week comes along.  "When is the trashed picked up this week?"  A lack of Persistence of Memory affects virtually everything, which produces other statements like, "How did all of these clothes get on the floor in my bedroom?"  Or, "Why isn't it a good idea to wear the same t-shirt for two straight weeks?"  Teenagers can't remember.  It's not their fault.  It comes with being a teenager.

 

Teenagers can't remember most things that aren't related directly to them because they start each day with a clean "memory slate"—whatever they learned yesterday was erased when they went to sleep last night. My guess is that teenagers secretly stand on their heads (or do some type of break dancing head spin) just before going to sleep at night to "clear the memory slate"—kind of like a human Etch A Sketch.

 

So, what do you have?  You have a group of young people experiencing a memory disease.  Fortunately, the disease is short-term and cures itself (in most cases) with age.  You're dealing with a group of people who "Etch A Sketch" their way through a few years of their lives.  These people are in a coma-like state—a type of memory limbo, so you must adjust your tactics to meet their needs.  (By the way, adults don't remember their experience with Teenheimer's Disease because the memory of the event is permanently deleted from their brains somewhere around 20 years old.)

 

So what do you do?  I have only limited experience in dealing with adults who have Alzheimer's, but I learned quickly that the best way to help them is to write things down, even the most basic things like, "Brush Your Teeth."  I think you should do the same with your interns.  Make a list for each person that includes his/her responsibilities.  Make sure you put each person's name at the top of the sheet or they will "Etch A Sketch" which sheet is for which person.  Next, it would be best to have a bulletin board that is only for them.  Put a sign on the board in big letters that says, "Intern Board," to reduce the possibility that they will forget the purpose of the board, or questions like, "Which board are you talking about?"  (Don't give each intern his/her responsibility sheet because they will "Etch A Sketch" its location from their brains.  Staple the sheets to their bulletin board.)

 

With their responsibilities on a sheet that is located on their own board, the only thing you have to say each day is, "See the Intern Board for your today's responsibilities."


Passport

Doc:  What is the process involved to get a U.S. passport? - Anonymous

 

Anon: You can find out everything you need to know if you go to this U.S. Department of State website.

 

By the way, if you search the Internet, you'll find many companies that will prepare your passport for you—for a fee.  Don't use any of them.  The process is easy, and you can do all the work yourself.
 

 


Passwords - How Good are My Passwords?

Doc:  Is there a way for me to find out how good (secure/safe) my passwords are that I use for different websites and other things?  Thanks.  - Anonymous

 

Anon:  There are several sites on the Internet that provide that information for you. One site has several options to use – click here.

NOTE: Don’t enter your real passwords. Enter something that contains the same number of elements, but not the real elements you use

The key to passwords is how many elements you include. Here is how that works. For each element, there are 95 possible choices (52 upper & lower case letters, 10 numbers, and 33 special characters). If you have a password only two elements long, there are only 9,025 possibilities (95 x 95). For each element you add, multiply the preceding total times 95. 3 elements = 857,375 possibilities, and so on. An 8 element password has 6.6 quadrillion possibilities.

The key to passwords is how many elements you include.  Here is how that works.  For each element, there are 95 possible choices (52 upper & lower case letters, 10 numbers, and 33 special characters).  If you have a password only two elements long, there are only 9,025 possibilities (95 x 95).  For each element you add, multiply the preceding total times 95.  3 elements = 857,375 possibilities, and so on.  An 8 element password has 6.6 quadrillion possibilities.

 


Patent Leather

This isn’t a research question, just one of the things I’d like to know.  What is patent leather?  How is it made? - Anonymous

 

Anon:  No problem with a non-research question.  Patent leather, probably most recognized as the type of shoes men wear with tuxedos, doesn’t come from an animal called a “patent.”  (I had to say that.)  Patent leather is leather where the surface is coated with nitrocellulose or synthetic resins to produce a mirror-like surface.

 

I didn’t know what nitrocellulose is, so I checked that too.  From the DuPont website, I found that European chemists in the 1830s/40s discovered nitrocellulose by dipping cotton in nitric acid.  Patent leather coating?  No.  This original stuff was highly explosive and was used as an explosive material in World War I and II. DuPont’s chemists learned how to alter the nitrocellulose formula to create non-explosive film—the material that is now use to create patent leather and other things such as plastics, lacquers, photographic film, and automotive finishes.


Patent for Radio

Doc:  I have an idea for FM radio and would like to apply for a patent.  Do you know the best approach for me to take?  By the way, I haven't told anyone about my idea. - Derek

 

Derek:  First, I need to say that I'm not a patent attorney and you should not interpret any of my comments as legal opinions.  You need to see a patent attorney to make sure that you do everything correctly.  DO NOT contact one of the companies you may see advertised on TV that say they will help you with your patent application.  Don't do it.

 

Second, as you noticed, I significantly edited the question you sent to me.  I deleted your explanation of your idea, your identity, and a few other things.  (I'll explain more about that in the next few paragraphs.)

 

Third, my comments about your question are based on my experience applying for a patent, but that doesn't mean I'm an expert at the process.  As I said in the first paragraph, you need to see a patent attorney if you want to pursue this idea.

 

Before I get to some specific information, there is one thing you need to know.  Do not tell anyone about your idea and don't show anyone any drawings, prototypes, or anything related to your idea.  You said you haven't told anyone about your idea, but you did.  You told me, or I should say, you attempted to tell me.

 

From my patent application experience, I know that you're not supposed to tell anyone anything about your idea because the information is then in the "public domain" and anyone can claim that it was his or her idea.  So here is what I did to save your rear end on this point: 

 

When I clicked on the question you submitted for my column, I immediately saw that it related to an idea for a patent.  Luckily, you put the explanation in a separate paragraph, which allowed me to delete it without reading it.  I'm serious.  I did not read a word of the description of your idea.  If you decide to talk to a patent attorney, he/she will ask you if you have told anyone about your idea.  You don't have to say that you told me because I promise/swear/affirm that I did not read a word of your description.  The only thing I know is that your idea relates in some way to FM radio.

 

Don't tell anyone except your patent attorney about your idea since your comments are protected by your client/attorney relationship.  The only people who will know about your idea are your attorney, the person who does the formal artwork (drawings) that are submitted to the patent office, and maybe the attorney's assistant.  However, the artist and assistant, and anyone else related to the attorney's work with your idea, cannot divulge the information to anyone.  Don't tell friends, family members, or anyone else.  Period.

 

OK, with that out of the way, here is some information for you . . .
 

1.  One thing you need to keep in mind is that the patent application process takes a long time.  According to the U.S Patent Office 2005 Annual Report, 409,532 patent applications were filed, and 165,485 patents were issued in 2005.  The huge number of patent applications means that it takes as long as two years to hear if your idea is accepted or rejected.  Two years!

 

I know the wait is accurate.  I filed a patent for a "tool handle" on February 1, 2005 and received a letter in February 2006 indicating that my patent has be tentatively approved, but requires minor changes to the drawings submitted.  The changes have been submitted, and my guess is that I'll hear something (hopefully positive) in November or December of this year.  (Note: I was granted the patent on October 3, 2006.  You can see it by clicking here.)

 

2.  An attorney will tell you if your idea has merit, or at least if your idea might be easy or difficult to patent.  Regardless, the first thing your attorney will do is conduct a patent search to find out if anything similar (or exactly like) your idea already exists.  The search costs about $500 (attorneys subcontract with folks in Washington, DC who actually do the searches at the Patent Office facility).

 

If the search finds that your idea is already patented (or patent pending, which means that someone else has already submitted an application), that's probably the end of the line for you (although you may be able to change a few things with your idea to provide another patentable product).  If the search finds something that's only similar to your idea, your attorney will advise you about the next step.  Experienced patent attorneys can save you a lot of money by recommending that you don't pursue an idea.  These folks have seen many, many ideas, so listen closely to what your attorney says to you.  (Note: Even if your attorney recommends that you'll have a tough time receiving a patent, you can still go ahead with the process.  It's your decision and your money.)

 

3.  There are two broad types of patents—design and utility.  You need to know about these patent types, although your attorney will be able to explain everything in detail.  However, the patent office provides a lot of information about design and utility patents and you should read everything before you see an attorney—click here.

 

4.  The cost for a patent application depends on many things, including, but not limited to, attorney fees, artwork, filing fees, and prototype development.  I think a fair guess is about $3,000 - $5,000, but it all depends on the complexity of your idea.


Payola

Doc: To what extent does payola still exist?  Is it possible to gain airplay without it?  Do the radio stations and DJs still have the freedom to play what they like?  Is it possible to get radio to play a good song without major label affiliation? - Anonymous

 

Anon: Here are my answers to your four questions.  I'd be happy to post responses from other readers who address your questions:
 

  1. I have no idea to "what extent" payola exists.  The reason is that if it does exist, the people involved don't tend to talk about it publicly.  If there are shaky things going on, my guess is that only a few people are involved.  The reason I say that is there has been too much news about payola in recent years and I don't think many people in decision making position want to jeopardize their jobs.  But I could be wrong.

  2. Since I currently don't know anyone involved in payola, or anything similar, I would say that yes, it is still possible to get airplay without paying someone.

  3. PDs tend to be the people who make the decisions about which songs to play (from research information or other data from their company).  I don't know any DJs on music radio stations that select their own music.  I'm sure there are many, but I don't know any.

  4. Although artists who have affiliation with major record labels probably have an easier time getting their songs played on the radio, I think most PDs are willing to listen to artists who don't have such an affiliation.  The quality of music is the key, and that's a major problem with sending music to PDs—much of the non-label music they are sent isn't very good.


PD Training

I’m currently working in programming. I do scheduling and maintenance on our UAC and assist with the music scheduling on our mainstream Urban. I also perform programming duties with the OM. My question is: I’m hoping to be a PD one day, so what knowledge and experience should I have under my belt to be fully prepared for the position to be effective and successful? - Alphabet

 

A-Z: The position of PD at a radio station involves an understanding of many things: programming, music, the radio station’s target, research, advertising, and more. Keep your eyes and ears open all the time to see what types of things your PD and OM get involved with. When you do this, always ask yourself "Why is he/she doing that?" As you develop, you’ll be able to answer the "why" more often.

 

In addition, keep in mind that a PD, like all management positions, involves managing people. Learn what types of management behavior are successful and which are not. What makes people respond to management requests? What is the best way to get people to perform and participate?

 

As you spend more time in your current position, identify things you can do and ask to get involved. How can you help the radio station? Continually search for more things to do so you can get experience in all areas.

 

There are no set rules about what to learn to become a PD. However, I can say that in my years of experience dealing with all types of PDs, those who are successful understand the broad picture of radio. They understand how even the most insignificant decision can affect the whole product. To these successful PDs, radio is perceived as a complex set of interacting things (variables), and they understand how each variable relates to the final product.


PDs Again

You said that a PD is responsible for the on-air product. If it’s a music station, does that mean the PD can play music that he/she thinks people want to hear? – KL

 

KL: Uh, no. The radio station is not the PD’s jukebox. The PD has the fiduciary responsibility to program the radio station, whether it’s a music station or news/talk (or anything else), according to the needs and desires of the target audience. The target audience and what these people want to hear are determined by research.

 

I’m going to make you work and look up "fiduciary" if you don’t know what that means.


PD Characteristics

Based on your experience, what are companies looking for when they hire a new PD (i.e. education, experience, etc.)? What do these ‘Powers that be’ expect? Thanks dude, you have a great thing going here.  - Anonymous


Anon: Thanks for the comment. I try to do my best.


I don’t think there is a uniform list of qualifications for PDs. Each company has its own unique style and this carries over to the types of people they hire. However, from my contacts with hundreds of PDs in dozens of companies, I think I can give you a somewhat generalized list of characteristics that would apply in many situations.


I don’t think a formal education is required. However—and you probably should expect this if you know my background—if you have the opportunity, get a college degree . . . even a Master’s or Ph.D. The degrees might not land you a PD job, but they will prepare you for the future should you want to move to a different job. If you get the right college degree, it will help you avoid putting all of your eggs in one basket (as I was told years ago).


Experience? I would think most companies would require a PD applicant to have previous experience, but that’s a Catch-22 if you haven’t had a PD job yet. However, you might be able to rely on experience as MD or AMD, or even talk your way into the position.


I think beyond education and experience, companies look for a PD candidate who:


P/E Ratio

What is the P/E ratio in reference to stocks? - Maria


Maria: The P/E ratio uses two values. P = The stock’s price; E = Earnings per share. For example, assume that a stock sells for $50 and its annual earnings per share are $5.00. The company’s P/E ratio is 10.


What this means is that if you bought one share of the company and the stock price and earnings per share stayed the same, it would take you 10 years to get your money back. After that, you would make a profit.


The P/E ratio has historically been used as one element in analyzing a company’s overall value. However, the high-tech stocks have radically changed how people look at P/E ratios. Some high-tech companies have P/E ratios in the hundreds or even thousands. Many people don’t care about earnings—they buy the stock to make money only on the increase in share price.


The P/E ratio can be interpreted in a variety of ways. For more information, consult one of the stock websites like www.thestreet.com, www.cnbc.com, or Microsoft’s Investor at www.investor.com.


Penguin (as in "Whack the...")

Hey Doc:  Do you know anything about a game on the Internet where you hit a penguin?  I heard about it, but can’t find it.  Thanks. - Anonymous

 

Anon:  Yes...several people sent it to me.  Click here:  Whack the PenguinI don’t know anything about the author, but it’s a strange game that’s addicting.  Here’s how you play:

 

1.  Hit your mouse button to make the penguin fall.

2.  Hit your mouse button again to swing the bat.

 


Pentatonix

Dr. Wimmer:  I have become intrigued by an a cappella group called Pentatonix.  I have seen several of the group’s videos, but haven’t seen them in person.  I know you go to many concerts and wondered if you have seen them.  If so, what did you think? - Cheryl

Cheryl: As you know, I have taken a while to answer your question.  The reason is that the day after I received your question, about a month ago, our good friend Ken Phillips, who is the publicist for Pentatonix, invited my wife (Darnell) and me to see the group’s concert in Denver on February 15, 2014.  We went, and here is the answer to your question.

For anyone who doesn’t know about Pentatonix, it’s an a cappella (no instruments) group of singers who have become immensely popular since winning the third season of NBC’s “The Sing-Off” in 2011.  The group consists of five young (from my perspective) people: Scott Hoying (22), Kirstie Maldonado (21) and Mitch Grassi (21), Avi Kaplan (24) and beatboxer Kevin “K.O.” Olusola (25).

Before the concert, I watched several Pentatonix videos and was impressed, but I wasn’t sure if their performances would carry through to a live event.  I got that answer after about 60 seconds of their first song.  But, before I get to the concert, I want to mention something else.

Because of Ken’s relationship to the quintet, we were able to meet with them in their dressing rooms for about an hour before the concert.  What a treat.  They are all smart, funny, humble, and, quite simply, very nice people.  It was fun talking to all of them and watch them get ready for the concert (“controlled chaos” is a good way to describe it).  Here they are just before the concert started (Kirstie, Scott, Mitch, Avi, Kevin):



The concert.  The show was at the Paramount Theater in Denver, an old, but very nice venue with a typical stage and auditorium seating.  Before the show started, a white scrim was hanging to block the view of the stage.  The quintet walked on stage behind the scrim, was hit with five spotlights, the scrim dropped and they started singing.  The instant before the scrim was dropped was the last silent moment for the next 90 minutes.

As you mentioned, I have been to many concerts and this is one of the best performances I have ever seen.  I’m dead serious and I say this for two reasons:

Reason 1:  All five members of Pentatonix are excellent singers who sing very complex songs.  Each person is capable of singing the lead, and they all give 100% during the entire show.  They literally never stop moving while they’re on stage.  It was a complete 90-minute performance by all, and it was clear they have a good time performing.  It was fun hearing them sing and watching them perform.

Reason 2:  From the opening song, Pentatonix immediately “had” the audience.  By that I mean, they immediately got the audience involved in the show and they made it even better with several funny bits, interactions with the audience, and interactions amongst themselves.  They sing to the audience, not at them.  It’s great and very unique, and it was very clear that everyone in the audience, including the “Pentaholics” (hardcore fans), enjoyed the entire show.

Observation 1:  I saw something at the concert I have never seen before.  As soon as the singing started, most of the sold out audience of 1700+ people jumped to their feet and remained standing for the entire concert.  I’m serious.  I kept looking around expecting people to sit, but they never did.  That should give you a clue to how well Pentatonix was received.

Observation 2:  The audience included a wide range of ages, from kids under 10 to people who were in their 70s and maybe older.  This is true, I think, because of the songs Pentatonix sings, their talent, their energy, their obvious ability to communicate with the audience, and the fun they have on stage.

Here is Pentatonix during the concert:



In summary, I know the group’s current tour is sold out (including European shows), but if you get a chance, don’t pass up the opportunity to see Pentatonix in person. You will be truly impressed.  For more information, here is the Pentatonix website.

You can also watch a few videos if you click here.  Be sure to watch “Evolution of Music.”

Do the Pentatonix videos accurately portray the group’s talent?  No.  Pentatonix is much better in person.  If you think the videos are good, you will be amazed at what you hear and see if you get a chance to see the quintet in person.

 


Peppermint Rainbow - A Look Back

Doc: In one of your other sources, you wrote about the significance of music to people and how music from a person’s “formative” years tends to be liked the most throughout a person’s life. I think I have that correct.  Would you post that discussion here because I would like a few of my music friends to see it? Thanks in advance. - Anonymous

Anon: I have written many things on that topic, but you may be referring to the article I wrote about how people from one generation tend to make fun of (laugh at? criticize?) the music from other generations. It’s a common reaction that virtually anyone in the radio or music industries has seen many times.  Young people criticize the music older people listen to and vice versa.  That’s just the way it goes.

You mentioned the “formative years” in your question. Many research studies, along with simple observation, have found that for most people, the music they listen to during their formative years (teens and early 20s) tends to be the music they like most and the music they prefer to listen to for the remainder of their lives.  While most people listen to several types and styles of music throughout their lives, most tend to prefer the music they listened to when they were younger because this music is usually most strongly associated with memories of their youth, the lifestyle of the time, and virtually everything else during that period.

It is also common for each generation to ask another generation (younger or older) the same question about music from that time period, and that is: “How can you listen to that stuff?”  (Or some other descriptive term in place of “stuff.”) It is common to hear each generation describe “their music” as the best, and almost all other music as less than that.  The reaction is something I
have learned to expect from virtually everyone in any discussion about music from different eras.

In my other article, I provided a video to demonstrate how different generations react differently to the same song, and included a link for a video from 1969 by a group called the Peppermint Rainbow.  When young people watch the video, they usually laugh and say, “How could you have liked that stuff?” along with other critical comments about the performers’ costumes, hairstyles, and more.  When older people watch the video, they usually say something like, “I remember that” or “That was a great time” or some other positive comment.  The video is a “flashback” to the older people’s formative years and it elicits many reactions to a variety of things from that time.

All music is powerful in one way or another, and it’s fun to watch how different people react to different types of music.  Regardless of whether you like the music or not, most music videos are great educational tools because they are essentially short history lessons of the time when the videos were made.  Watching almost any video provides information about language, clothing styles, relationships, lifestyles, the economy, and host of other things about that time period.

Now, with all that in mind, watch the video example I provide.  As I mentioned, it’s from 1969 and it perfectly represents the time period.  What is your reaction to it?  What does it tell you about the time period?  I can almost guarantee that most older people will watch this and be flooded with a bunch of great memories (some younger people may also like it too). So, click here and experience a little history lesson.  (Note: The video isn't great, but the audio is the best I could find.)

The two women in the group are sisters - Bonnie Lamdin (at left) and Pat Lamdin.  I contacted Bonnie a few days ago and asked her about the video.  She said, “I believe the video was from The King Family Show.  It was a little strange because there was a lead-in created and a separate ending to allow them to 'sing along.'  We practiced just a time or two and went for it.  TV back then was a lot more crude than it is today.”

I want to thank Bonnie for taking the time to help me.  She is a very nice person and gave me permission to use her comments here.  In addition, she sent me a few photos of herself at a recent impromptu singing performance at a charity event.  Here is Bonnie in March 2012 . . .

 

 


Percentages

OK, say that my Arbitron share goes from a 4.9 to a 6.2. Is there an easy way to figure out how much of an increase that is . . . in terms of percentages? - Skip


Skip: First of all, you can do this on most calculators, but that’s not what you’re asking.


The "usual" way to compute a percentage increase is to subtract the first number from the last. In your example, that would be 6.2 – 4.9. The difference is 1.3. You then divide that number by the first number . . . or 1.3/4.9, which equals a 26.5% increase.


An easier way is to divide the last number by the first number. Or, 6.2/4.9. This equals 1.265. In this method, you subtract "1" from the final number, slide the decimal over two places, and you have the same number . . . 26.5%.


OK, Skip, now that you know the procedure . . . what percentage increase would there be if your radio station went from a 4.9 to a 10.2?


Percentages Again

How could going from 5.6 to 7.1 be a different percentage than going from 7.1 to 5.6? - Anonymous


Anon: You got caught by "it seems like." It is true that the difference between the two sets of scores is the same—1.5. Therefore, it seems like the percentage change should be the same. Nope.


You have a different starting point in each case. In the 5.6 to 7.1 case, you start with 5.6—1.5 is 26.7% of 5.6. In the second case you start with 7.1—1.5 is 21.1% of 7.1


Do you see the difference? Up 26.7% or down 21.1%.


Perceptual/Panel Research - Difference in Methodology

Would you please explain what perceptual research and listener panels are and the difference between the two?  Is one way more effective than the other in terms of methodology to find out what’s going on in the market?  Thanks so much. - The Great One

 

TGOPerceptual research is a very broad term and literally can include any type of research—the goal is to discover the perceptions of listeners or consumers.  However, in radio research perceptual research has become identified only with research conducted on the telephone with several hundred respondents.  So, if you hear a person say something like, “We conducted a perceptual for the radio station,” the person means that the radio station conducted a telephone study.

 

A listener panel is a method where listeners volunteer to participate in research studies for several weeks, months, or even years.  In reality, a listener panel is also perceptual research.  The only difference is that the same respondents are used repeatedly over time.  The main advantage with any type of panel study is that the results tend to be more stable when on study is compared to another because the same people are used—the sampling error doesn’t vary from one study to another.

 

Both research approaches are good if they are conducted correctly.  However, a one-time perceptual study is easier to conduct than a panel study because the panel methodology requires constant attention to the sample.  It’s difficult to keep a panel of several hundred people because of mortality—listeners grow older and grow out of the target, they can move out of the market, or they can refuse to participate in additional studies.

 

Bottom line?  Both are good if you know what you’re doing.


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