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Friday, September 2, 2011
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Speaking With Stats Instead of Statements

It's not unusual to see a station or person making grandiose claims. "We play the most music" is often heard in the radio industry. "We have fewer commercials" is another claim that evolved from audiences detesting the major revenue source in radio today. Commercials should never have been given a negative image by the very industry that depends on them for profit, but they were - by promoting that "fewer commercials" made better programming.

"A positioning statement filled with grandeur, which is easily seen through upon visiting the web site, will damage your brand..." Another claim (actually the one that started me thinking about this topic) was spotted on Linkedin this morning. It said that "WROM is one of the Largest Internet Radio stations...."

Having been around this business for a long, long time and never having heard of WROM, I started to look around its web site to see what gave the owner a right to this claim. After just a couple minutes, and seeing that its forum section had 409 "Total Posts" (along with "We have 63 guests and one member online" proudly paraded on its home page), I left.

This started me thinking about all of the claims we see in the radio industry - online and off - and how many of them are bogus statements based on the wishes of whoever thinks that just stating words makes it so. It also forced a thought regarding how a person can tell if their station is one of the largest internet radio stations.

I'm not sure which figures you'd turn to in making a claim like this. Daily visits? Time Spent Listening to the stream? Revenue generated? Number of pages on the web site? There's no central repository of information that gives these figures, and you can't rely on the Triton Webcast Metrics because it only reports client stations. Many large internet radio operators do not subscribe, and they don't show up on its list.

Even at Audio Graphics' RadioRow it's impossible to tell which is the most popular station for any format. I've consistently found that those stations at the top of each format page are most visited. Since we started rotating the top-listed stations, those that used to be fed upwards of 5,000 audience members a month from RadioRow have dropped to mere hundreds of people when they are moved to the page bottom. And those stations that are new at the top of the list suddenly jump to the thousands of monthly visits the old top-rankers used to get.

I often said that RadioRow is not the top radio portal; it's far from that. The main purpose of this site is its use for analyzing metrics, and for trying new concepts to gather data (that I then use on client web sites). If a claim could be made about RadioRow it's that this web site ranks higher on search engines across more radio-related keywords than any other radio industry property. This is a claim that can be substantiated by going down the list here. It's backed up with stats.

Now that we're entering a new world of transparency, where consumers expect their source of music, products, information, etc. to be up-front (and they will abandon a company that gives the least bit of indication it's trying to scam them), it's important for managers and owners to know that simply making a claim which is not backed up by fact does more harm than good.

A positioning statement filled with grandeur, which is easily seen through upon visiting the web site, will damage your brand, possibly acting as the catalyst for a station's implosion.

How many online visits does your radio station receive? What type of positioning statements do you use to inform your audience of your station's rank in the real world? Do you even look at the stats (facts) prior to creating these claims?

Being one of the largest internet radio stations is not something that is easily proven. But you'd be surprised at how easily that comment is seen as building yourself up to something you're not - unless you also provide stats and links to back up the statement.

How you get the stats to verify your claim, within the radio industry, is still a question without an answer. Until that changes, protecting yourself from being judged a wannabe winner is the most important action you can take. Do this by staying within the boundaries of believability.

For more on this topic, see "Getting Around Radio's Latest Challenge."

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