Tactical Observation

“Strategy requires thought, tactics require observation” – Max Euwe, Chess Grandmaster

Dedicated observation of the world around you is the one of the most useful habits you can develop in your life. One of the key components of making observation useful and powerful is collecting lots of data and manipulating it quickly. Luckily, compiling lots of data and making it available to you in a way that makes sense and is intuitive and easy to access is exactly what RadioAnalyzer is. Only with current, valid, and easily available information can you react to a quickly changing market.

Today we are going to take a closer look at one of the market surveillance tools included in both the RadioAnalyzer Pro and Airplay Analyzer– “Comparison”. It shows a focused set of charts and graphs comparing content on two stations of your choice. You get an overview of

  • Music and Talk Content for Each Station
  • Overlap in Music Rotations and Total Rotation Sizes
  • Comparisons of New Music, and Power Song Rotations
  • Comparison Lists of Individual Song Titles and Library Composition

If you want a quick glance (3 minutes) a how Comparison works, you can watch our “How to use Comparison” video right here. Otherwise keep reading along for a case of actual numbers on real radio stations.

What’s New in Your Market?

For a practical example of one way you can use the tool, let’s have a look at a regional market in Europe, where two prominent AC-Stations have been battling it out for market dominance over the past 10 years. We will look at the current state of the two stations and how they compare and look back in time to see what has changed.

In the most recent years, one of those stations ran into a bit of trouble, but with some programming changes it was able to bounce back quite strongly – with an almost 50% increase in listening over the past two years. Naturally, everybody would like to know what it is exactly they are doing now, andwhat they changed. Just “by ear” a market observer could hear that there were changes in the music and the overlap between the two. Going deeper it would be very useful to know in more detail what exactly has changed in:

  • Music and Speech Percentages during different dayparts
  • Composition and Rotation of Music
  • Overlap in both Power Plays and Library Titles to their direct competitors

It is worth noting that none of the following slides show any client-side data, this is all “from the outside looking in” – in other words what you are about to see is available for any station in any market, even yours!

What You Play and How You Play It

Digging back into the archives of the RadioAnalyzer Data – as simple as choosing a date range and a time of day – let’s look at the state of the market for these two stations in early 2015 from 6AM to 6PM. We can see station 1 has a pretty tight rotation with a total of 233 songs, 131 of which also run on the competing station. That’s an overlap of 44.7%.

music overlap

The competitor, station 2, has a much larger variety of music on the station with a total of 533 songs. Among the most played songs the station overlap in a similar manner with 22 of the top 50 songs both ways. It is also interesting to note that of the top 10 most played songs on both stations – the current hits – only 1 song was played first on station 1. Despite being the market leader it was always playing it safe.

Now let’s fast forward to March of 2019 and see what has changed. Station 1 has almost doubled its total library, jumping to a rotation of 440 songs, with a whopping 57% overlap with the direct competition. At the same time station 2 has a library of 544 songs, next to no change in overall size, but much more overlap with the competitor.

Looking at the power plays, station 1 was now first for all but two of the top 10 most played hits on both stations

Since all the song data is available in an easily accessible form, we can also see what has changed in the station’s libraries in terms of content. Station 1 is playing less 80s pop music, more rock and more current hits, station 2 has also changed its composition, although to a lesser degree.

Let’s Talk

Comparison also gives access to Music and Talk percentages for the queried stations, in this case both stations are incredibly close to each other in terms of total music and talk on the station. They even mirror each other when broken down to the individual dayparts. The overall total amount of talk also has not changed in the past few years.

Painting a Picture

Using “Comparison” and other tools within the system, you can paint a very detailed and granular picture of what makes up an audio station and its content, and there is no limit to the timeframes, days, or dayparts you want to look at. Information is always available if you look for it, what makes RadioAnalyzer different is the ease with which you can retrieve if. It took me less than 90 seconds to complete the searches I need for the screenshots you see above and get the answers I was looking for.

What are your questions in your markets? Let us know, we’d love to help you find the answers!

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