A guy who describes himself as a 42-year-old "home-officed" Seattleite whose family members are Arbitron personal meter wearers told Blatherwatch today that neither he nor his wife have heard KIRO news talk since April 1st, the day they left the AM dial.
KIROAM was the market leader for many books; it's now rumored to have taken a huge hit in the new PPM ratings. The news talk FM side with all its expensive talent is said to not be doing well either.
"We used to have KIRO on pretty much all day," he writes," but we just didn't make the effort to switch. We leave it on KOMO or KVI most of the day then turn it to KUOW at 3."
He complains that he must pull out his radio's little antenna (which, when extended, blocks a doorway) to keep KIROFM reception at his Ballard home from getting "scratchy."
"KUOW, he writes, "comes in just fine."
"We used to listen to the Greg and Jane, Dave and Dori straight through every day, but my wife and I were just saying how much we DON'T miss them. It was not the kind of listening that made us loyal, apparently."
He says his son and daughter ages 17 and 19 wear the meters but are exposed to few radio signals except accidental ones. Our cars are the same way -- I tend to punch around AM but if I put it on KUOW, I leave it there. I set the KIRO button in my truck, but never use it."
"We are definitely a no-KIRO Arbitron family. We were surprised, [that] the switch-over so easily turned them off for us."
He says that participating in the 2-year survey has made them all more aware of what and how much media they listen to. The radio he says is off at night and on weekends. "That's a habit we haven't even realized had changed until we started wearing these meters."
(The meters, which pick up signals from the radio and teevee programming in earshot of the wearers, must be worn at all times during waking hours. They have very sophisticated motion detectors that turn off the meter -- if it's set down, or you happen to die -- Arbitron techs boast that all a person has to do is breath to keep the meters running).
Our PPM-er describes the kind of habit-changing one must do to keep a meter in motion for all your waking hours. It can be clipped to belts or pockets like a pager; Arbitron provides an array of little attachable cases; some wear it around their neck on a lanyard. "It's easy to forget to put it back on if you take a shower or change clothes."
A green light turns off if it's not being worn.
Putting the meter in the nighttime data collector when you go to bed can be difficult to remember too, he says. "Sometimes I fall asleep on the couch watching TV, and I'm pretty groggy when I crawl into the bed. I wake in the morning and say, 'O no!' It still counts if I remember to do it the next night, it can store the data for 3 or 4 days."
"The kids were messing up a lot at first. They like the little checks they get in the mail, they get more if they wear it more." There are weekly drawings for $500 among the those who wear the meter for over a certain number of hours.
"We have made it a little competitive game in the family about who gets the maximum points," he says. "Everybody has agreed to share the big money if any one of us wins it."
We asked him if he could game the survey -- have the meter registering something other than what he was listening or watching.
"I figured out a way you could do it," he writes, "but I don't really care one way or the other. I don't listen to the radio to be a liberal or a conservative, I just listen to what interests me."