Music Research for Radio – Part 2


This is part two of the series on music research for the radio industry. There are many ways to gauge a station’s listening audience. In part one we discussed the “Auditorium Test Music Research”. Another widely used form of music research is called call out music research.

“Call Out Music Research”

Call Out is used to test the value or worthiness of the current and recurrent music categories. It is usually completed within a week to ten days due to the time value. The number of songs may vary slightly for each radio station’s test and the results are tracked against prior cycles to find if songs are improving or fading in acceptance. A song that never takes off is one of the criteria used by the researcher to keep a station from playing low testing songs. One benefit of call out music research is the ability to compile music data quickly, easily and keep the cost low. This helps in generating weekly reports on current music. There are some drawbacks in using this methodology. Call Out research includes the reliance on hooks which sometimes fail to capture the complete essence of a song; the low fidelity or clarity of telephone lines may be a negative bias toward the results; and the high refusal rates of respondents who are willing to participate in the testing. This can be expected any time call out music researchers make unscheduled telephone calls to participants.

The final results are forwarded to the program director along with the strategic plan suggested by the research company to be implemented. This includes the sorting of music into specific music categories, how often certain titles should be played, for catalog music categories a separation of primary and secondary song groups, and titles that should be placed on hold or rested. This will ensure each song is obtaining satisfactory exposure for the target listening audience. This concludes our final installment on music research for the radio industry. For more information contact the professionals at Earl Boston Inc.