What Type Of Research Do I Need?
Different types of radio research are better at asking different questions.
If you are trying to establish a place for your station in its market, a format finder survey looks at the market landscape against the widest swath of potential listeners.
If an established station is trying to improve its listenership within a given format, it typically conducts a market survey against a somewhat smaller base of likely customers within a narrower target.
If a station’s concern is not its general direction, but playing the right music for an established target, stations with a significant amount of non-current music conduct library testing to help make sure they are playing the strongest records. Stations will generally test 600-700 titles over a two-hour period, once or twice over the course of a year.
Stations based in current music sometimes conduct weekly or bi-weekly testing of 30-40 songs. This type of research is most effective for tracking the progress of heavily played current songs from week to week, rather than library titles.
How Much Does Radio Research Cost?
The costs of radio research are determined by the scope of the audience you want to reach and the logistics involved in finding them. Those costs are generally consistent between large and small markets. After determining the goals of your research project, Edison will develop a proposal—usually within 48 hours or less—to give you the most actionable research for your budget.
Edison’s methodology has been developed over the years to keep costs reasonable and within the reach of as many stations as possible.
Our innovations in music testing have, for instance, sharply reduced or eliminated research moderator and travel costs to radio stations.
How Does The Research Process Work?
The questions that are important to you generally start shaping your project even in the proposal project, but we’ll officially start each project with a call between the Edison Research survey team and your station management to further clarify the things that you “need to know” from your project, from the respondent screener to the questions asked.For music testing, we’ll work with you on the respondent screener to make sure that you are including both your current best users and those that could become bigger users of your station. Music testing generally includes present and past songs in rotation, but we’ll also put Edison’s music expertise to work for you making sure that other potentially valuable songs are tested as well.
Market survey projects are generally 3-5 weeks from initial agreement to presentation. Music testing is generally a 3-4 week process. Survey results are usually presented in person. Music testing results are often presented and implemented by conference call.
How Has The Internet Changed Radio Research?
Like most researchers, Edison is augmenting its traditional telephone-based methodology with online survey and music testing, aimed at inclusiveness and giving respondents more flexibility. What hasn’t changed is the rigor with which we recruit and screen research respondents.
Some vendors now propose radio research based on station databases, Facebook friends, and other non-scientific samples. Those methodologies are sometimes lower priced (and more profitable to vendors), but they don’t reach the broad audience that radio research was designed for – the potential listeners who would never engage directly with a station. We find those listeners’ tastes often differ significantly from a station’s most loyal listeners.
How Often Do We Need To Do Music Research?
We understand that broadcasters don’t always have the ability to test their music as often as they would like. Stations that rely heavily on their library still try to do two music tests a year. After a year, you generally find that airplay or the lack thereof on a song has affected burn and preference in a way that differs significantly from a year earlier.
I Can’t Afford Music Research; Can I Replicate It?
Because of our expertise in music research, we occasionally get calls from radio stations that are unable to do music research, but hope to replicate it by looking at like-minded stations. But even looking at the most-played songs at other stations these days isn’t a guarantee of programming strength, since not every large-market station does research consistently. In addition, markets often have unique competitive landscapes and histories. Looking at other stations is usually a better way to shape your radio research questions than to answer them.
Does Radio Research Eliminate Risk?
Edison Research takes a rigorous but not didactic approach to radio research. Some broadcasters are looking to eliminate risk. Some are looking for the information that helps them take calculated risks in an intelligent way. Research, well-applied, really is a balance of art and science. While we are researchers, not consultants, our extensive knowledge of the media landscape help us best understand your station’s particular issues and make appropriate recommendations.