Clutching for straws (the radio ratings game)


Nothing becomes more contentious over the broadcast airlanes than the release of survey results on listenership for radio stations,’

In an industry that is losing a big share of advertising revenues to television, and even social media, radio networks need to prop up their listenership bases to remain attractive to more discriminating advertisers seeking to get the most value for their peso. In every locality, there is a constant race for the number one position, because the title is a magnet to advertisers.

Hence, it’s not suprising to hear over local radio stations for several days now anchormen firing verbal missiles at their rivals over the results of the latest A.C. Nielsen survey for Iloilo City. The obvious leader, Bombo Radyo DYFM, proudly broadcast its undisputed position in the local market with 6.34%. It was followed by Aksyon Radyo Iloilo DYOK with 2.26% with RMN 774 a distant third with 1.05%. Radyo ng Bayan and RGMA DYSI 1323 rounded up the field with 0.6% and 0.5%.

This drew angry reactions from some “losers”. Novie Guazo of RMN 774, for instance, reportedly started attacking Bombo Radyo and insisted that his station is number one. A verbal slugfest over the airlanes erupted, anchormen trying to rip each other apart as if the exercise will change the equation. It didn’t matter that such angry exchanges don’t speak well of the broadcast industry, not to mention the fact that listeners are not amused at all. The audience wants to listen to solid content, not juvenile brickbats as to who is the toughest kid on the block.

(In fairness to Aksyon Radyo, it came out with a statement accepting the results of the survey. That, I think, is the sober and right attitude. Move on. Accept the truth.)

The results of the survey are unassailable. A.C. Nielsen is the most prestigious among survey groups. Its survey findings serve as a roadmap for advertisers in picking which networks will get their advertising money. And no amount of quarreling will sway the minds of advertisers. Nor will it change the figures on the charts. These networks might as well study the outcomes and learn why they ended up where they are on the charts.

But there is something about the survey results that is very revealing. It’s the fact that the audience share for radio is getting smaller and smaller. Radio is rapidly losing its title as the primary source of information and entertainment. Television has edged out its sister broadcast medium, with social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc) emerging on the horizon as potential challengers.

About 20 years ago, Bombo Radyo enjoyed an average of 15-18% of the market share, with the competition fighting over another 5-8%. Based on this recent A.C. Nielsen survey, the market share for radio has shrunk considerably. This puts more pressure on the networks because this means less and less advertising money to keep them afloat. Less income means cutbacks in promos, technology and manpower. The cycle is vicious, with the radio industry a potential victim of death by strangulation.

I’m not about to say, “for whom the bell tolls.” But the warning signals are there. Radio networks should think deep about how to thrive, not just survive, in this hostile environment. A soul-searching into content and delivery should be done, with possible integration into the social media (such as live-streaming on Facebook) to be seriously studied.

The stakeholders in the radio industry should stop quarreling. Their energies can be put to more productive purposes in finding ways to win back audiences.

About Manuel "Boy" Mejorada
Manuel "Boy" Mejorada is a journalist and social media activist. A former Iloilo provincial administrator, he is now waging a crusade against corruption and narco-politics.

One Response to Clutching for straws (the radio ratings game)

  1. Novie Guazo says:

    Bisan magnumber 1 pa na ang bombo OK man lang sa amon kay mas damo man kami advertisers compara sa ila nga station. So its means nga masganahan ang advertisers sa amon nga station. Damo advertiser means damo kuarta. Bisan number 1 sila pero wala man kuarta, wala pulos. Isa pa damo man bayad ni Kapid Gabio diri sa Blocktime Program para tirahon si Boy Mejorada. Pero ang matuod nga kawatan si Kapid Gabio kay panguatahan nya lang si boss nya “Rommel Ynion” nga Jueting lord. Hahaha.. mga gago!!!

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