Tweaking the panel to include a handful of NON-COMMs while dropping some smaller stations would benefit artists…
By Paul Marszalek
Luminate’s decision to fold BDSRadio Monitoring in favor of Mediabase has sent stress levels skyrocketing among many in the Triple A Radio world.
A primary issue is the significantly smaller panel of stations monitored by Mediabase, and the company, owned by iHeart’s RCS has yet to say whether that panel would be expanded.
But peel the onion, and you’ll see that a lot of the panic comes from stations engaging in corrupt airplay practices in which they receive money from independent promoters for that airplay.
With a few exceptions, this practice occurs at smaller stations. So while BDS has a larger panel, it certainly isn’t a more accurate report of what Triple A Radio songs are truly making the most impact and reaching the most ears in the U.S. In short, BDS’ Triple A Chart, due to corruption, creeps increasingly toward garbage in, garbage out.
That said, Mediabase has a shortcoming related to the non-commercial side of the format. Critics will tell you that Mediabase does not track NON-COMMs, but this is not true. Mediabase already tracks public radio stations KCMP/The Current, KEXP, KCRW, WFUV, WXPN, and many more within its 37 station set. But it does not include very significant stations such as KUTX.
Creating firm criteria for the panel would result in much cleaner data.
For example, stations would need to post ratings of a 1-share (low bar) OR cume more than 100,000 people. If a station cannot hit either of those benchmarks, or if it does not subscribe to a ratings service, unfortunately, they would be eliminated from the panel. There are many stations on the BDS panel – and even a few on the Mediabase panel – that do not hit these proposed criteria.
There are some great sets of ears working at some of these smaller stations, but there’s also a ton of corruption.
Eliminating them, while adding a couple of additional larger NON-COMMs would create better data, reduce pay-for-play, and ultimately, benefit artists.