This is the first part of our discussion on how examining exposures instead of spins will help you hear your music rotations the way your listeners hear them.
“We play that song all the time,” the sales manager complains. You assure him it’s a huge hit, but deep down, do you wonder if you are giving that song the ideal number of spins?
Some of the most common questions our Integr8 New Music Research clients ask are about spin counts. In addition to wrestling with how often to play particular titles, programmers also want to know how many spins it takes for a song to become familiar—and ultimately to become a hit—with their audience.
Spin count is such a time-honored measure that we hardly stop to think about it. However, spins are a classic case of inside thinking; viewing your radio station from the programming perspective rather than from your listener’s perspective. You have 168 hours to program each week, but even a loyal P1 listener only spends a few of those hours with you.
Instead of asking, “How many times per week should I play a song?” you should instead start asking, “How many times per week should my listener hear a song on my station? In other words, instead of looking at station spins, you should be examining listener exposures.
What’s the difference between spins and exposures?
- Let’s say you spin a brand new release 45 times a week. That means (ignoring dayparting) your station plays that song about every 3 hours and 44 minutes.
- Now, let’s say your typical P1 listener* listens to your station about 4 hours a week, a typical figure for Weekly TSL among P1 listeners for successful CHR stations in PPM®
- Since your station plays the song every 3 hours and 44 minutes, and since your typical P1 spends 4 hours a week with you, that means your typical P1 listener has 1.07 exposures a week to that song on your station. Even with 45 spins a week, your typical P1 listener only hears that song about once a week on your station.
What about songs in your power category? Ninety (90) spins a week (a rotation of 1 hour and 52 minutes) only gets you 2.14 weekly exposures with a typical P1 listener.
What about your P2 listeners?
- A typical CHR P2 listener in a PPM market might spend about 2 hours per week with the station.
- Therefore, a P2 would have 0.54 exposures to that new song you spin 45 times per week, meaning that a P2 listener would only hear the song on average once every 13 days.
- For the Power you spin 90 times, a typical P2 would only have 1.07 exposures to that song, which means your P2s would only hear your Powers about once a week.
Right away, you can see that while you feel you’re playing a song a lot—especially when your hard-core listeners complain on your request line and on social media that you play the same songs over and over—the majority of your listeners are not actually hearing that song all the time. While it’s true that listeners might also hear the song on other stations (and increasingly from other music sources), exposures from your P1 listeners’ P2 and P3 stations likely aren’t adding dramatically to their total exposure to any given song.
You can easily calculate exposure for any song on your station and it will only require some foggy memories of high school algebra: Simply look up your Weekly TSL among your P1 listeners* in PD Advantage or Tapscan, then use this formula:
Exposures = Weekly TSL x (Spins / 168)
“That’s nice to know,” you say, “but how should I think about exposure?”
We’ll tackle that topic in our next blog post.
*We recommend calculating this figure among your P1 listeners instead of your broader Weekly Cume audience because your Cume audience includes people who are exposed to your station, but didn’t actively choose to listen to it, thereby spending far less time with you than the typical fan of your station. To understand exposures among lighter listeners, plug in your Weekly TSL among P2 listeners.
PPM, PD Advantage and Tapscan are trademarks of Nielsen, Inc.