Community radio survey criticism disingenuous: Lee Hubber

I&G Media, a media sales and production house which caters for the community broadcasting sector, has taken issue with Joan Warner’s comments on the recent community radio listenership survey.

The Director of I&G Media, Lee Hubber has told radioinfo:

“Joan Warner is an excellent advocate for the interests of her employers at
Commercial Radio Australia (CRA), however her criticism of Ian McNair’s
rigorous survey of community radio listening is disingenuous.

“The Nielsen figures that she draws on do not, as she claims, compare ‘apples
with apples.’

“Nielsen reminds respondents by listing all participating
commercial and ABC radio stations in their listening diary. They don’t list
all of the community and other stations. For these stations the respondent
must remember and fill in the particulars.

“An additional column is included in each diary for recording listening to
any other stations not listed in the diary.”

The CRA audience survey guidelines
say respondents are asked to write
in the call signs of any other stations not listed by name in the survey booklet.

Hubber says: “For Neilsen surveys to identify a 10 ­ 15% share (or 21% reach) for ‘other
AM/FM’ suggests the result would be much higher if each of those ‘other’
stations was identified in the diary.

“This is consistent with the results
reported by McNair.

“It can fairly be said that because community radio stations are not listed
in the diary, any listening to them is under-reported in the ACNielsen
surveys. (Community Radio National Listener Survey, Summary Report of
Findings ­ Ian McNair, Matt Balogh).

“Ms Warner’s comments throw a spotlight on the shortcomings of the research
methodology sanctioned by CRA.

“The diary method is being rapidly phased out around the world, yet CRA decided against a state-of-the-art people meter
application in their most recent research tender. I think the people meter
would have identified the higher level of non-commercial radio listening
that CRA is challenging in the McNair survey.

“Unlike CRA, the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA) did
not have a free hand to manipulate their research methodology.

independence of the survey was underpinned through funding by, and the
participation of, the Department of Communications, Information Technology
and the Arts (DCITA) and in particular, DCITA’s Communications Research Unit

Hubber believes the Nielsen radio surveys would “have far more credibility” if they
were overseen in a similar way by the advertising industry.

Hubber says: “McNair Ingenuity state that ‘to some extent, the present survey may well
under-report all radio listening.’ Is Joan Warner saying that those
respondents to the Community Radio National Listener Survey who reported
listening to community radio were mistaken about who they listened to?

she saying that a sample of 5000 is too few when CRA’s sanctioned minimum
sample size is as low as 600?

“At I&G we sell sponsorship on behalf of a large number of community
broadcasters and McNair Ingenuity have produced a beautiful set of numbers
for those stations.

“The results are timely as 30 community stations across
Victoria have recently banded together to market a single sales package
(called Big Vic Radio) to reach their audience measured at 884,000 people
per week.

“This highly credible survey gives national advertisers the
confidence to mount a sponsorship strategy on community radio and their
advertising agencies the tools to measure its value.”