It’s no secret that I think the radio business is doomed, and that “kids today” are more likely to listen to music via any number of online services—I’m part of Spotify’s U.S. beta, and aside from an unacceptable lack of Sleater-Kinney, it’s pretty great—than they are by tuning into some “local” radio station, where the program manager is a boob and the on-air talent is petrified of upsetting management. Anyway, sometime during the winter, I received a letter from Nielsen, the famous ratings company, that asked me to participate in a radio survey, helping them find out how many people listen to each radio station and when.
Oh, I filled out the survey, all right. In so many words, I told Nielsen, after checking every box that said “I did not listen to radio today,” that, because of the Internet, my music-listening habits, such as they are, have changed dramatically. Things like Spotify (well, at the time I filled he survey out I didn’t have access to Spotify), Imeem, YouTube, Beatport, iTunes, etc. are where I got all my music from. (And, to be honest with y’all, Usenet and What.cd.) I told Nielsen that the days of four-in-a-row-Friday, where the fourth cut is always live, are over, and that radio companies (CBS, ClearChanel, etc.) needed to embrace the Internet; the CBS Radio iPhone application is a great example of someone in that company “getting it.”
Now, whether or not my advice will make any difference at all, who knows. I assume some middle-management type read it, scoffed, then said, “What does this jerk know?” But at least I tried to help ’em out, gosh darn it.
Today, Nielsen sent $22 for my troubles, I think because I count as a “minority,” which is so dumb but that’s how these companies think. I’ll probably spend it at Cold Stone, or, if I were in Chicago, the Ron Bennington cupcake from Molly’s.