Doc, I know that you have a lot of clocks in your house and you seem to know something about them. I thought you might also know about watches. I want to buy a quartz watch and would like to know which one you recommend. - Tony
Tony: I never thought I’d be asked about watches, but I’ll give it a shot. I’m not a watch expert, but I buy old watches by the pound and take them apart for the dials. I use the dials for backgrounds in some of the clocks I make.
Anyway, I mentioned that because when first started taking watches apart, I noticed that regardless of the company, quartz watches use the same basic movement—from the cheapest watch to some of the most expensive watches. The movements all look the same, so I did a little investigation.
What I found is that while there are there are several quartz watch movement manufacturers (search for “quartz” in the little search box), most of the watches I taken apart have movements from Time Module, a Seiko company located in Japan, and ETA, located in Hong Kong.
The interesting thing is that virtually all of the quartz movements look the same, and you’ll find that the same Time Module movement, for example, is in a $5.00 quartz watch from a discount store, or an expensive Seiko watch (or other brand) from an expensive jewelry store.
If you are looking for a quartz watch and don’t care about the name of the manufacturer, then my recommendation is to buy the cheapest watch you can find that matches the style you like.
I was watching TV a few yrs ago and saw an experiment that involved the molecular structure of water. They filled five or six jars of water and then taped words such as love, hate, murder and showed that the molecular structure was distorted on the jars with the negative words on it. Can you find out where I can read some more on this? - Anonymous
Anon: I believe what you're referring to are the "experiments" by Dr. Masaru Emoto, and you can read many articles by clicking here.
You can also read several articles that question Dr. Emoto's work by going to this search. You'll find that many people question the reliability and validity of the Dr. Emoto's information.
Doc: I live in an area where there are tremendous temperature differences in our listening area and I like to give our listeners the temps in several areas when I do the weather forecast. Is there a website that gives temperatures in several areas in one city or market? Thanks. - Anonymous
Anon: I checked several weather websites and found something new called "WunderMap" on Weather Underground. Go to Weather Underground, type in your city in the box at the upper left of the page, and then look under the small radar screen for WunderMap. Click on that and I think you'll find what you need.
Weather reports on radio stations generally just include the temperature and whether it's going to rain. On TV stations, the weather reports include all sorts of things like high and low pressure, the jet stream, and other stuff. Shouldn't radio station weather reports include the same type of information? - Mike
Mike: Hey, don't assume that if it's on TV that it make sense. I have two answers for you:
You should ask your listeners if they want this information.
My experience with research in TV during the past 25+ years is that most viewers don't know what TV weather forecasters are talking about most of the time. The only people who seem to care about isobars and all the other "neat" stuff are other weather forecasters. When TV viewers are asked what information is important in TV weather forecasts, the typical answers are: the temperature and whether it's going to rain tomorrow (or today).
Weather Reports - Source
Listeners often ask me about the weather around the country and around the world. Is there a good website for this information? I know about www.weather.com, but I’d like something else. Any ideas? - Anonymous
Anon: In my opinion, the best site is by the National Weather Service—a lot of information and no advertising. Here’s the page to go to search for specific areas around the country or the world. By the way, the site also has aviation and marine weather information.
What are web bugs? - JH
JH: Web bugs are hidden code in web pages to collect information about your computer. Here’s a great article that explain web bugs in detail: Web Bug Article.
By the way, virus software such as McAfee “kill” web bugs so your information won’t be transmitted.
Web Links Challenge
I always like when you include links to other pages or websites because they give additional information to your answer. I have also noticed that you often include several links even within one answer. This made me think of a question, or maybe it’s a challenge of some sort.
Can you answer a question or write a sentence related to radio or radio research where every word, or almost every word, is a link to another page or website? Just curious. - Anonymous
Anon: You’ll notice that I edited your question a bit, but I don’t think I changed your meaning. Please let me know if I misinterpreted your note.
An answer or sentence where every word, or almost every word, is a link? OK, how is this:
Radio program directors who follow Occam’s Razor know that the path to success is a three-step process (1) Find out what the listeners want; (2) Give it to them, and (3) Tell them that they gave it to them.
That took a long time to set up using HTML code. Please don’t ask for another example. If you do, I’ll have to get some assistance to deal with you.
I see a lot of polls on web sites asking people to vote for things or to give an opinion about something—even on All Access. How accurate are these polls? Thanks. - Wayne
Wayne: Accurate? You're really asking three questions: (1) Are the polls valid? (2) Are the polls reliable? and (3) Can the results be generalized? I have explained these concepts many times in this column, but there are always new readers who haven't seen the previous questions and answers. So I'll explain them again.
Valid: In basic terms, the word "valid" in reference to research means, "Does your measurement actually measure what you think you're measuring?" For example, consider today's (November 2) All Access poll in the "Net Talk" section. The question is: "My station's policy on inter-office dating is…" Is this a valid question? Does it ask what we think it asks? I'm not sure because I don't know what information was desired. However, in my opinion, the question isn't valid and was probably written by a non-researcher or a research novice. Why?
Look at the question. It says, "My station's policy on inter-office dating is…" I know this will be picky to you, but that's the job of a researcher—to be picky. What is a "station?" A radio station? A TV station? A gas station? A train station? Sure, I know that All Access is a radio web site, but the question assumes that all readers are radio people, and that's a mistake. The question should say . . . "My radio station's policy…"
Next, the question asks for a policy on inter-office dating. inter means between or across, and therefore, the question is asking for a dating policy between or across offices (between Chicago and Memphis?). A person who works in a place that has only ONE office could not answer the question. I have a feeling the author of the question meant intra office dating policy. Finally, the response options don't include "Don't know/No answer." The question assumes the respondent knows the station's policy.
So . . .the question asks for a response about the dating policy between offices in a station (radio station, train station, etc.)—one office could be located in Chicago and another in Memphis. This may be what the author wanted, but I find that difficult to believe. I don't know why All Access readers would be interested in dating policies for gas stations in Chicago and Memphis (or other inter office locations).
Reliable: In basic terms, the word "reliable" in reference to research means, "Does the measurement instrument consistently produce the same results." The only way to know this is to compare the results from different times. If the poll is reliable, it will produce results consistent with the first attempt.
Generalizability: One goal of scientific research is to conduct a study with a sample and generalize the results to the population from which the sample was drawn—sampling saves time and money. However, in order to generalize the results of sample-based study to the population, the sample must be a probability sample—one that uses a random sample (everyone in the population has an equal chance of being selected). In addition, sampling error computations are appropriate only for probability samples—therefore, we can't estimate the sampling error for the All Access poll. I know that there are very few, if any, radio research studies that use a truly random sample, but at least we usually know who is responding to questions and respondents are initially selected randomly (with a decent response rate).
The All Access poll is voluntary and there is no way to determine sampling error. The results cannot be generalized to other All Access subscribers; the results are meaningless beyond those who choose to answer the question. This holds true for polls on other web sites and polls for local radio and TV stations.
There should be a statement at the bottom of the poll results that says something like, "This poll is for entertainment purposes only. Sampling error cannot be determined and the results cannot be generalized to any population."
Website or Web site - Which is Correct?
Doc: Which is the correct spelling: website or web site? I see both on the Internet and elsewhere. - Anonymous
Anon: In the past few years, the accepted spelling has changed from web site to website. A few companies, particularly news organizations, use web site, but I think they will change to the generally accepted form of website.
Websites for Radio Stations
Have you ever done any research on radio station websites? If you have, what kinds of things to listeners say about the sites? Do they use them? - Anonymous
Anon: Good question. Yes, I have done many studies about radio station websites. In one study I did a few months ago, I was able to get into great detail about what listeners like and don't like about radio station websites.
I can't go into great detail here because the study is proprietary, but I can say a few things. First, many listeners appear to like radio station websites (you need to verify this with your listeners). Second, in reference to complaints, I expected that the majority of comments would be about specific things on the sites.
However, that wasn't the case. The majority of complaints related to how long pages took to download, or how long it took to get from one page to another (the same as download time but worded specifically that way).
In the end, a large percentage of listeners said they would visit their favorite radio station's website more often if it were faster to navigate.
You should check this out yourself, and keep in mind that most people use dialup connections and they are notoriously slow. Take a close look at your website to see if you can speed things up (smaller photos and so on).
I want to build my web site email data base and I want feedback from my P1s regarding what they like and don't like about the radio station. Does it make sense to combine the two goals? In other words, run a promo on air telling listeners we want to know what they think, "Talk back to us by joining the [call letters] Club on the web site and fill out our listener survey. For your efforts, you'll have a chance to win [a prize] and become a member of our listener advisory board."
Also, any general direction on the focus of the questionnaire? What can you expect to accomplish? This is a News/Talk format. - Anonymous
Anon: I commend you for wanting to gather information from your listeners. If you proceed with your web site based research, remember that:
You have no control over who answers your questionnaire. For example, respondents may be children, people from other states or countries, your competitors, etc.
Your sample isn't random and you can't generalize the results to the population. Obviously, this means that you shouldn't make any decisions based on the data.
Unless you have a sophisticated tracking system, you have no control over how many times one person can answer your questionnaire.
Without strict controls over the system, the best use of your feedback procedure is to give the (legitimate) P1s who answer the questionnaire a feeling of importance that you're interested in them.
As far as the direction or focus of the questionnaire . . . What do you want to know? Those are the questions you should ask. However, remember that you shouldn't use the responses to make any decisions. At best, the data are only potential indications of your listeners' perceptions of your radio station.
If you want to proceed with this method, you need to deal with a person who can help you with your sampling plan, questionnaire design, and data collection procedures (the web site securities and so on).
Hey Doc! Sometimes when I'm on the internet, usually when entering info for a sign up or registration, a box with letters comes up and I\'m asked to put the code in a box. Here's the question. Why are do the letters always appear to be written by a two year old? They're always presented in a fashion that makes them hard to read. Why not just big block letters? Finally, If I'm on the page and filling out the info, why make me put the code in at all? - JJ
JJ: The procedure is done to make it virtually impossible for spammers to get into the website. One of the most widely used methods is called Captcha, and there is an excellent discussion of the process on the home page.
However, I found another explanation for you on another website (edited by me):
Captcha works by presenting an image of a word is distorted and obscured so that a computer is not able to recognize it, while a human still can. To enter a website, a user must correctly type the distorted word, number, or series of words or numbers.
Spammers not only use robot programs to crawl the web looking for email addresses to send spam mail to, but also use similar robots to apply automatically for free email addresses from which to send the spam. Hotmail and Yahoo now prevent this by putting a Captcha style question in their standard registration forms. An applicant (i.e. computer) that can't read the word doesn't get an email address. So the use of Captcha goes at least part of the way to stopping spammers. (Source)
Website Traffic (Increasing)
Dr. Wimmer: Do you have any suggestions about getting a station website more exposure? I've heard of a few sites that link to other web pages that have interesting content. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance. - Anonymous
Anon: I have done a lot of work with radio station websites and have found two things that will increase your traffic:
1. Interesting content that your listeners want to see. The only way to find this out, like everything else related to your radio station, is to ask them what they want. Don’t be fooled into thinking that what other radio stations have on their websites is what you need to include. This isn’t true. Listener desires for radio station website content varies by market, format, age, and sex. Don’t just copy what another radio station is doing.
2. A large number of mentions by the on-air staff about the website, contents, and the address. Once you have the website the way the listeners want, the jocks, especially, have incredible power in convincing listeners that they need to visit the site. Use their influence and have them promote the website as often as they can. Just make sure that the content is correct, otherwise, the jocks will be “selling” a bad product.
Although you can include links on your site to other “interesting” sites, you’re just sending listeners away. It’s like playing a rotten song and saying, “If you don’t like this song, tune to another radio station for a while.” Not good.
There isn’t anything wrong with having a few links on your site. That’s OK. However, if you do include links, make sure your webmaster (or whomever designs your site), has the external link as a “_blank” (pop-up thing), as opposed to leaving your site and going to another. (The way you see links pop-up on this site. I never have you leave this column. The site just pops up.)
If you’d like to spend some time reading about radio station websites, click here.
When did people first start wearing wedding rings and why are they worn on the left hand? - Anonymous
Anon: The wedding ring dates back to Egypt where it was worn on the third finger of the left hand because they believed that the vein in that finger traveled directly from the heart.
For more detail about wedding rings, click here and here. By the way, the articles explain that not all cultures wear wedding rings on the left hand.
Doc: It seems like many stations throw weekends away. I remember someone saying that Saturday morning or mid-morning is the second most listened to daypart of the week? How do weekends stack up with weekday listening? Thanks! - Anonymous
Anon: While about 95% of listeners 12+ listen to the radio during the weekdays, the percentage drops only to about 80% during the weekends. Like you, I think the idea that “weekends are throwaways” doesn’t make sense.
You can find out all you want about listening patterns by downloading Arbitron’s Radio Today: How America Listens to Radio - 2004 Edition (it’s free). It’s a 2.1 MB file, so if you have dialup, it will take a while. I have cable modem and it took just a few seconds. However, regardless of your Internet connection, the report is good.
Dr. Wimmer: I took up exercising to help me lose weight. I have lost 6 pounds! Then I had a bad week and gained them back, and now I am back down 2 pounds. Like all that matters.
Anyhow, when I lose my weight, where will it go? Will it vanish? Exit my body in the restroom? When I blow my nose? It has to go somewhere. - Anonymous
Anon: Where do it go? Reminds me of the Thermos bottle—you put something hot inside and it stays hot; you put something cold inside and it stays cold. How do it know? Or better yet, when I look at the directory at the mall, it says, “You are here.” How do it know?
OK, enough of that. I’m not a medical doctor, so I checked the Internet for your answers. What I found is that when you lose weight, you lose it from three areas: water, fat, and muscle tissue. If you want to lose weight, it’s good to lose fat, but it’s not good to lose too much water or muscle tissue.
If you lose weight merely from water loss, you will regain it when you drink stuff. This is the “secret” behind some of the quick loss diet programs advertised on TV. It’s also what professional boxers do to “make weight”—they may lose 10 pounds or more to stay in their fighting weight class, but they gain it all back when they drink fluids.
Where does the weight go when you lose it? Some areas include excretion (including sweating), using it for energy (fat), and atrophy (muscle tissue).
You may want to check some of these sites for more information:
Where do it go?
I gots ta know!
Weight Loss - Again
Doc: When one goes on a diet and loses weight, where does that weight go? I'm not asking a trick question here, I promise. Do we sweat it out? Is it removed via our waste? And, I searched your archives and was unable to locate it. Could you please tell the "that don't be right" story? Thanks, love the column! - Anonymous
Anon: I'm happy to hear that you enjoy the column. Thanks and on to your questions . . .
Weight Loss: You checked the Research Doctor Archive and couldn't find a question about weight loss, eh? Well, you didn't look closely enough, because I have already answered your question and it's posted above this one.
That don't be right: I often use that phrase in this column as well as in everyday conversation. I picked it up many years ago when my family and I lived in the Atlanta area. My wife was a high school teacher then and she brought pictures she had recently taken to her class. In the batch of pictures was a photo of our house (modest Atlanta-style home) and one of the students looked at it. He asked my wife how many families live in the house. She said, "Just one...My husband, my two sons, and me." He said, "That don't be right."
And that's the rest of the story.
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