Weight Loss - Safe

How long would it take an average person on a diet to lose 50 pounds? - Anonymous


Anon:  If you search the Internet for safe weight loss suggestions, you’ll see that most sources say that a safe weight loss is no more than 3 pounds per week.  Using that as a guide, safely losing 50 pounds should take about 17 weeks.

Weight Loss - Waist Size

Doc: Love your column.  If a person goes on a diet and loses weight, what is the approximate correlation between inches lost from his/her waist to pounds lost?  If the person (male) used to be a size 38 waist, and now is a 32, how much weight has he lost?  Not a trick question, just someone who doesn't like scales.  Thanks! - Anonymous


Anon: I'm glad you enjoy the column.  Thanks, and on to your question . . .

I didn't know anything about this, so I had to read several articles on the Internet.  The idea of a waist/weight correlation is OK, but the problem is that there are several variables involved.  For example, I read several articles where people lost weight, but their waist was the same size after the weight loss as it was before the weight loss.  In other words, a person can lose weight, but it may not be from his/her waist.  So much for a reliable correlation.


However, I did find many weight-related calculators that you may find helpful in getting at least an indication to your answer.  Mess around with some of them and you may develop some type of good indication—click here.

Weight of Quarters

Doc:  I have been saving quarters for a few years and would like to know how much money I have without counting all the coins.  I have 50 pounds in a container.  Is there any way to estimate how much money I have in the container? - Anonymous


Anon:  Oh, let’s see.  Sure…there is always a way to do most things.  Here is an estimate of the amount of money you have:

  1. One U.S. quarter weighs 5.67 grams (I had to look that up.)

  2. There are 453.58237 grams in one pound.

  3. You have about 22,679.62 grams in quarters.

  4. Dividing 22,679.62 grams (total weight) by 5.67 (weight of one quarter) means that you have approximately 4,000 quarters, or about $1,000 in your container.

By the way, if you’re interested in how much each U.S. coin weighs, along with a bunch of other information about U.S. currency, click here.


Why is “weighting” used in research and how is it done? - Anonymous


Anon:  Weighting in research is used to compensate for under-sampling or over-sampling of quotas.  For example, let’s say that a telephone perceptual study has a quota of N=100 for females 18-24, but the interviewers were able to complete only 50 interviews with this age/sex group.  If the 50 completed respondents are representative of the population of women 18-24, the responses are doubled (counted twice).


Weighting can become extremely complicated by adding several qualifications, such as a quota for cumers, P1s, fans of different radio stations, and so on.  In these cases, you wouldn’t simply count each completed respondent twice.  Some respondents may be counted three or four times to match the quotas set for the study.


If done incorrectly, or if the sample of completed respondents is not representative of the population, weighting can really mess up a study—the results may be meaningless.

Weighting Follow-Up

Doc:  Thanks for your very complete and lucid answer to my question about Latino weighting.  Even though I understand what you say, I have always been suspicious of the methodologies used by major rating services.  I’m sure you heard this many times.


I am reminded of the time when the owner of my station went to New York and took the president of Pulse (then a big ratings service) to lunch and cried on his shoulder.  In the next book, we were a solid #3 in the market, up from #6.  I don’t think it was a coincidence.


Doc, I appreciate what you do and how much time and effort you put into it.  So do a lot of others.   Keep the rubber side up! - Jerry


Jerry:  Two things before I get to your comment: (1) You’re welcome for the response and I’m glad you enjoy the column; and (2) You say, “Keep the rubber side up!”  Hmm.  If you’re commenting on my motorcycle riding, I hope you mean to keep the rubber side down.  Bikers don’t like it when the rubber side is up.  OK…on to your question.


You’ll notice that I eliminated people’s names from your question.  I don’t think their names are important here.


First, Pulse is no longer in business for several reasons, but one of the major problems was that the company’s methodology (door-to-door interviews) was riddled with error.  However, there is no way I can prove or disprove the relationship between your owner’s luncheon and the radio station’s increase in ratings.  You say you don’t think it was a coincidence.  I say that you’re making an unwarranted claim because there is no way to prove it.  And even if you could prove the relationship, it doesn’t make any difference.


Just because one ratings company several years ago may have used questionable practices does not mean that all other rating companies use questionable practices today.  Your syllogism fails:


Pulse used questionable radio ratings methodologies/procedures

Arbitron (or any other company) is a radio ratings company

Therefore, Arbitron uses questionable radio ratings methodologies/procedures


I’m not going to buy it.  That’s guilt by an undocumented association, and that, as is said, “don’t be right.”


Audience research is a tough business.  The major media ratings companies are accredited by the Media Ratings Council (that means the companies’ methodologies are independently reviewed and validated).  This in itself does not guarantee 100% that everything is scientifically perfect, but it does ensure that the companies’ procedures are reliable and valid to the extent that such items can be verified.  In addition, the methodologies of the accredited ratings companies are public information (a characteristic of the scientific method), and you can be sure that if there were something “shady” with the accredited ratings companies, they would be called on the carpet for it.


I understand what you’re saying, but I don’t agree with the approach of discrediting Arbitron or any other accredited ratings company based on unverified practices used by a company that went out of business year ago.


If you have a criticism about ratings companies that is based on more than anecdotal evidence, I would be happy to address it or find someone who can.  Until then, your argument doesn’t carry much weight.

Weighting Follow-Up 2

I am totally embarrassed.  I know about keeping the rubber side DOWN!  Sometimes the mind plays tricks.


I’m not alone in questioning the Arbitron methodology.  If people were happy with it, why did they start experimenting with the personal people meters? - Jerry


Jerry:  Don’t worry about your mind playing tricks.  It happens to everyone.


No, you aren’t alone in questioning Arbitron methodology, and there is nothing wrong with questioning the methodology used by any research company in any field.  My main point with your original note is that you tried to associate a questionable practice of a now defunct ratings company with Arbitron.  That’s incorrect.


One of the characteristics of scientific research is that it’s self-correcting.  In other words, scientific researchers are always open to investigating new ways to discover things and new information to replace old information.  While a methodology may be considered reliable and valid now, scientific researchers are always looking for better ways to do things; they are always looking for better data.


The radio diary method has been used for years and has served well considering the inherent problems of such research and the expense involved in conducting it.  Arbitron management knows that diaries aren’t the only answer.  That’s why they have been testing meters for several years (the people meter idea is several years old.)  Until recently, the problem with meters has been a lack of technology.  It’s available now, and now it’s time to ensure that the methodology is valid and reliable.


However, this doesn’t mean that personal meters are the “final” answer, Regis.  You can be 100% sure that as soon as the meters are in place, the criticisms will emerge, and they will emerge with a vengeance.  However, you can also be sure that even when the meters are brand new, scientific researchers will be looking for something better.  That’s the nature of scientific research.

Weighting Example

Let's say that a teacher has 5 graded assignments for the class each assignment accounts for the following percentages to compute a student's final grade . . . 15%, 30%, 20%, 15%, and 30%.  How does the teacher compute each student's grade? - Anonymous


Anon:  I edited your question a bit, but I don't believe I changed the meaning.  Please let me know if I did.


OK, so each student receives 5 grades for the class.  Let's assume that the numerical equivalents for the grades are as follows: A = 4, B = 3, C = 2, D = 1, and F = 0.  Let's also assume that Student One gets the following grades for each of the five assignments: A, B, B, C, and C.


If the teacher gave equal weight to each assignment, the student's grade would be 2.8 (4 + 3 + 3 + 2 + 2 = 14/5 = 2.8), or a C+ grade.  This method, in math terms, is called a linear combination.  However, with the weighting system, ingeniously called a weighted linear combination, the student's grade is computed with the following formula:


.15(x1) + .20(x2) + .20(x3) + .15(x4) + .30(x5) = Grade


Where x1 to x5 are the assignments.


The formula computes as follows:


Assignment 1: 4 x .15 = .6

Assignment 2: 3 x .20 = .6

Assignment 3: 3 x .20 = .6

Assignment 4: 2 x .15 = .3

Assignment 5: 2 x .30 = .6


The added weighted values produces a score of 3.0, or a grade of B.


It's interesting that this simple procedure isn't used more in radio research.  For example, it would be very useful in music testing.  As you may know, a lot of time is often spent on determining how a Total score should be interpreted.  Which group made the song take a dive, or which pushed it over the top?  And so on.


With a weighted linear combination, males, females, or even a specific age cell could be weighted.  This would save a lot of time interpreting the scores.  You could still look at the individual cells to see how each one rated the song, but the Total score would already reflect the influence you (or someone else) gave to the cell by assigning specific weights.

Weighting (Latino)

Since Arbitron started weighting (over-counting) the Hispanic books, the Hispanic stations in our market have shot up markedly.  You know the practice.  I think it’s totally bogus. It don’t be right!  What say you? - Jerry


Jerry:  First, weighting, or sample balancing, is not “over-counting.”  Although I don’t use weighting in the research I conduct, it is a common statistical procedure used to compensate for a sample that doesn’t match the population for which the sample is drawn.


Arbitron’s weighting procedures, described in the Description of Methodology, does not indicate anything out of line.  In other words, the procedure sounds typical.  Here is what Arbitron says:


“Sample Balancing.  The weighting system used by Arbitron, sample balancing, is an iterative marginal weighting technique designed to compensate for disproportionate in-tab from specified marginal classes.  Marginal weighting means that in-tab diaries are weighted to represent the population for each specified marginal class. The number of geographic marginal classes (i.e., counties, split counties or county clusters) will vary.  The number of age/sex marginal classes is generally 16.  In addition, markets that are race and/or ethnically controlled are sample balanced so that in-tab diaries from the race/ethnic group are weighted to represent the population of that race/ethnic group. As a result of this cumulative weighting, a Persons-Per-Diary Value (PPDV) is computed for each diary. The PPDV is the number of persons that diary is estimated to represent.”


For example, if your market has 50% males and 50% females, and a randomly selected sample (for Arbitron or any other research) consists of 75% males and 25% females, the sample would be balanced to reflect the actual market percentages.  Most likely, each female would be multiplied 3 times to equal the number of males in the sample, although the males responses could be reduced.


Now…you say that since the time when Arbitron started Hispanic weighting, the Hispanic radio stations have “shot up markedly.”  What this may indicate is that the previous non-weighted books did not accurately reflect Hispanic listening—that Hispanic respondents were under-sampled.  When Hispanic listeners were weighted to accurately reflect the number of Hispanics in your market, the ratings now (hopefully) more accurately reflect Hispanic listening.


I’m at a little disadvantage here because I don’t have access to your market’s Arbitron book to look at the weighting numbers used.  However, you say that weighting, and therefore increases for Hispanic radio station listening, “don’t be right.”  I’m not claiming that the results in your market are 100% accurate—research is never 100% accurate—but your current numbers are probably more accurate with weighting than without it.


I say the numbers are probably more accurate.  I don’t want my comments to lead you to believe that weighting/sample balancing is perfect research procedure.  It is not.  The main problem with weighting is that the respondents who are weighted may not accurately reflect the population from which they were drawn.  For example, let’s say that you need 50 females in a study and were able to get only 25.  The 25 females would be counted twice (weighted X 2).  However, it may be that some, most, or all, of the 25 females are “outliers”—people who vary significantly from the average.  If this is true, the outliers’ responses would be doubled and would create a misrepresentation of actual listening.  Although your market’s ratings are probably more accurate now, there is a chance they aren’t if the Hispanics who participated in the survey are outliers.


The “true” answer will develop over time when the ratings are replicated (repeated) in future books when different samples are involved.  If the weighting is valid and reliable, the radio station numbers will be consistent in future books.  If the numbers vary significantly from what you have now, then I would probably agree that something “don’t be right.”  It would be a signal that the procedures need to be investigated.

What are those things? (Winglets)

Doc:  I don’t fly very often, but on my last trip, I noticed that the wingtips on many of the planes were turned up—the wing didn’t go straight out.  Do you know what those things are on the end of the wing? - Anonymous


Anon:  Those turned up ends on the wings are called winglets, which first appeared on some planes in 2002.  According to several sources, the winglets improve flying performance and increase fuel efficiency.


Here are two good articles about winglets:  Winglets One and Winglets Two

What Happened to . . .

Doc:  During my morning show, I frequently receive calls from listeners asking, "What happened to . . .?" and they'll ask about an actor, musician, or a celebrity.  Do you know if there is a website that has this information?  I'm thinking about doing a 2-3 minute segment everyday called, "Whatever Happened To?" - LC


LC: Your segment idea is a good once since listeners like to hear about what happened to celebrities and others (I have heard this many times from listeners.)  There is a lot of information on the Internet for you, which should make it easy to put the segment together —  click here.

What is This?

A friend sent an email to me and at the bottom was this:


Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?


Do you know what that means? - Anonymous


Anon:  The Latin phrase means, “How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?”


What you need to do is send your friend this:


Tantum materiae quam materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari.


Which means, “Just as much wood as a woodchuck could if a woodchuck could chuck wood.”

What Sells a Jock?

What do you believe most PDs look for in today's talent? - Anonymous


Anon: If there are 10,000 PDs in the country, there will be 10,000 unique answers. The best I can do here is summarize the discussions I have had with PDs over the years.


Not in any specific order, some of the things PDs look for include:

What’s Wrong with Radio?

Doc:  There are many radio stations in the U.S., but not many that are extremely successful.  If you were forced to pick only one thing that is wrong with radio stations that aren’t successful (or as successful as they could be), what would that be? - Anonymous


Anon:  As you can see, I edited your question a bit.  I don’t think I changed anything, but please let me know if I did.  While your question is very broad, I understand what you’re asking, and I thought about this for a while before I started to type my answer.


First, I’m sure your question could be debated for years.  A radio station may fail to reach its potential for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to, such things as, poor management decisions, corporate meddling, competition in the market, and format popularity.  But you asked me to pick only one thing, and that’s what I will do.  I may get some flack for my answer, but I won’t lose any sleep.


Secondly, you made your question rather difficult because you didn’t isolate either AM or FM radio stations, nor a specific format.  Once again, however, I’ll follow your “rule” and select one element that relates to any type of format on either AM or FM.


With that introduction, after 27 years conducting radio research, one word comes to mind that to describe radio stations that fail to reach their potential: monotone (or monotonous, monotony).  Allow me to explain.


If you check a dictionary, you’ll find a few definitions for monotony—“a succession of syllables, words, or sentences in one unvaried key or pitch,” “a single unvaried musical tone,” and “a tedious sameness or reiteration.”


A countless number of radio research studies have shown to me that people listen to radio for a variety of reasons, such as, entertainment (music, DJs, talk shows, etc.), news/information, and companionship.  Listeners from ALL countries tune to radio with varying frequency for their dose of one of these elements.


Because people tend to like variety in their lives (in varying degrees), a problem emerges when radio stations present the “same” product all the time—the same songs, the same talk show topics, the same jokes, and so on.  These aren’t my comments.  The comments come from listeners who frequently complain that radio stations are “the same every day.”  Many listeners say things like, “I hear the same songs every day—even at the same time each day,” or “The DJs talk about the same stuff all the time, and mostly, they talk amongst themselves.”  And so on.


Now, the reality may be that radio stations (I’m talking in general terms here) do change their product every day, but listener perception doesn’t support this—and listener perception (right or wrong) IS reality.  What many listeners hear is the “same thing every day.”  The sameness may relate to music, DJs, talk show topics, commercials, or other elements.  But the fact is that many listeners perceive (and therefore it’s real) that radio stations simply repeat the same things every day.


Monotony in radio can relate to a variety of things: music, DJs, formatics, and so on.  An example might help here.  I’ll use Oldies music as a target.


If you read radio trades or Internet posts, you’ll find many discussions about Oldies radio.  Many of these discussions question a similar topic: Can Oldies music survive?  (Oldies here is defined as music from the late 50s to the early 70s, with a concentration on the 60s).


One of the reasons Oldies music radio stations may not survive, or reach their potential, is that they are incredibly monotonous when it comes to music.  Not monotonous in the number of songs played, but rather the type of music played.  According to many Oldies music listeners, most of the Oldies songs played sound the same—the same tempo, loudness, or whatever description is used.  (For example: Carly Simon followed by James Taylor followed by Simon & Garfunkel followed by the Mamas & Papas, etc.)


Broadly speaking, there is Hard Rock, Soft Rock, and Wimp Rock (Oldies).  And that’s the problem with many Oldies music radio stations—the playlist may be long, but most of the songs sound the same (monotony).  The comedian, Richard Jeni, does a great bit on “Love Songs” and describes how terrible it is to feel depressed and turn on one of those, “Jump in the bathtub and slit your wrists ‘Love Songs’ radio stations.”


Turning on many Oldies music radio stations is like self-flagellation with cooked Angel Hair pasta.  The music, according to many listeners, is the same all day long and the same every day.  The monotony created by music similarity (tempo, tone, beat, etc.) causes listeners to search from something else, something that will get their heart beat higher than 10 beats per minute.  Listening to some Oldies music radio stations is the same as listening to a skipping record or CD.


You asked for one element that can keep a radio station from reaching its potential.  In my view from so many years in research, that one thing is monotony.  Listen objectively to a radio station (AM or FM, music or talk) that isn’t performing well.  I bet you $1.00 that you’ll hear monotony.  Listen on Tuesday and then listen again on Friday.  Did you hear any difference?  My guess is that you didn’t.

Wheels in Motion

Can you tell me why is it when cars on TV are in full motion that the tires seem like they are going in the opposite direction of the cars direction? Why is this?  It's weird.  Thanks. - Nikki


Nikki:  It’s an optical illusion created by the number of frames shot by a film camera.  Here’s are two good explanations: Wheels One and Wheels Two

White House

Why is the White House pained white?  We are in an on-air debate about this?  Do you know?  - Anonymous


Anon:  So that I don’t have to reinvent the information wheel, here are three good sources that tell you everything you need to know about your question:


White House One

White House Two

White House Three


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