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
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
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
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
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
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."
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
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
Passwords - How Good are
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 –
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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:
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
Understands radio. (That’s a very broad comment, but it’s true.)
Loves radio. (Sounds trite, but it’s important.)
Understands the ART of programming.
Understands the SCIENCE of programming.
Understands the BUSINESS of programming.
Understands what a target audience is.
Is a good listener.
Isn’t afraid to make an error.
Seeks advice when necessary.
Has managerial skills.
Can get along with all types of people, including the
Stands up for his/her beliefs.
Worries about details.
Has good verbal and written skills.
Is a team player.
What is the P/E ratio in reference to stocks? -
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
Microsoft’s Investor at
Penguin (as in "Whack
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 Penguin.
I 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.
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: 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 . . .
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
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 . . .
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?
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%.
- 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
TGO: Perceptual 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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Roger D. Wimmer, Ph.D.
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