Radio Stations

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While listening to popular fm music radio stations, sometimes you hear them tell of a specific number of people currently listening to their station. Accurately finding the number of different transmitters broadcasting locations for a specific frequency is something that anyone can do. Being able to determine the number of receivers and their locations, I assume, fall short of their budget. Unless anyone can verify that some have contracted with the military?
 

mmckenna

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Are you sure they are not talking about how many people are listening online? There is no way to tell how many people are listening in on a broadcast radio station. Companies like Nielsen will sometimes do studies and come up with a number, but it's based on a small sampling, Not a true count of everyone listening.
 

SkyPager

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It's quite simple actually, One method is to impress or encode the stations audio / music with a sub-audiable tone. (CTCSS). Since these tones are below 300 Hz the human ear should not be able to hear them. Then by using a highly directional microphone, maybe a parabolic, the audio from passing cars can be detected. The captured audio is scanned for the CTCSS tone. Assuming each station in a market is using one of the 38 common CTCS tones you simply count the number of times a specific tone is detected. Getting an "exact count" depends on how many metering points you set up in a specific area and for how long each monitors that point. If you see a parked vehicle marked "Traffic Counter" and there is someone sitting inside of it, they may be using the Portable People Meter.

On-line listening is easy to count, just look at the number of people accessing the audio stream.

Portable People Meter - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

n7lxi

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Sorry, but you're all wrong. I've got over 20 years as a broadcast manger... let me fill you in.

Radio ratings are an ESTIMATE of the total number of listeners and the number of “tune ins”, known as “cume”, gathered using several different methodologies.

The older method, still used in smaller markets, is the Arbitron diary. Selected listeners are mailed paper diaries that they use to track listening habits for a week, Thursday to Thursday.

The newer method is called PPM, or “Personal People Meter” which uses an encoded signal received by a device that resembles a pager, worn by the survey participant. The data is downloaded to Arbitron every evening and detailed listening reports are generated from the data.

Arbitron Radio Ratings and Media Research - Home
Farpoint Station: How Do Radio Ratings Work?
 

OCO

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And I wondered why my local PBS classical station had lost all it's low end punch....must be the high pass filters they had to add to allow that CTCSS tone....:D
 

LtDoc

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If you ever come up with a 'fool proof', absolute means of determining the number of radio receivers tuned to any frequency let me know and we will make a fortune! I'm afraid that's about as likely as statistical averages ever being exact.
- 'Doc

oh well, another fortune down the drain...
 
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