The winds of change are blowing…stronger every day. Those who can’t feel them are living in a dream world.
For years, R&R reporting status dictated a radio station’s importance with record companies. Dinners, concert tickets, product service and promotions were only a few of the spoils that came with the prize. Pride from acknowledgement of one’s peers was also garnered by one’s upward movement within the parallels.
The results of R&R’s changes in reporting stations were once anticipated with dread or excitement. Now the results are greeted with hoots of derision or, more often, a yawn of boredom…if acknowledged at all.
There’s a new Sherriff in town…and the name is BDS.
The days of paper adds, chart share and Breakers are going the way of 8-tracks and pony tails. Record companies have always been interested in exposure. Exposure equals sales. Now they can monitor the exposure and they’re using it. Like it or not, the record industry is the tail that wags the radio dog…and this dog will hunt.
Unfortunately, the record monitoring system of BDS is controlled by Billboard, which seems to be hell-bent on making the same mistakes as R&R. Billboard and BDS are intent on making millions of dollars from the radio industry without giving anything back. Like Arbitron, they initiated their own methodology and radio has no voice in the decision.
As a radio station executive, you have no choice on whether or not your station is monitored by BDS. Your station’s importance to record companies will be decided by things you cannot control. Billboard dictates your format and since BDS only monitors about 80 markets, the size of the city will be the determining factor. If you fall outside that scope, you are out of luck.
Or are you?
Record companies are relying on BDS for only one thing: honesty. If record executives could rely on the integrity of all radio stations; playlists, no monitoring system would be needed. But they haven’t been able to do that.
Billboard and The Network Forty were the first trade publications to recognize the problem and do something about it. Billboard chose to go outside the radio community. The Network Forty works within the radio community to provide Plays Per Week (PPW).
We accept Plays Per Week data from all of our reporting stations. The information is downloaded from music scheduling software. The record industry is using radio airplay to determine the importance of every station in the country. If you aren’t reflective of their growing reliance on airplay, you are in danger of being left out.
You don’t have a choice when it comes to BDS and Billboard. They decide whether or not you will be monitored and by their own admission, it doesn’t ‘matter whether you like it or not. The Network Forty gives you the choice with PPWs. If you want to be a part of the future, if you want to be important to the record companies and your peers, you need to report PPWs. Outside of BDS, it’s your only alternative.
If you aren’t reporting PPWs to The Network Forty and BDS makes mistakes in monitoring your airplay (which they do quite often), you have no recourse. If you aren’t in a market being monitored by BDS, you have no recourse. Reporting your PPWs is your only chance to ensure the exposure you give to records is recognized by record labels.
To quote on of our reporters, “PPW is BDS for the rest of us.”
We (and our reporters) believe that PPW reporting is the best alternative to monitored airplay. BDS makes mistakes. Although BDS tried to dance around it, BDS doesn’t accurately reflect the various edits of specific records. BDS constantly imprints records used in promos and commercials. And BDS imprints records that appear as a part of specialized programs, but aren’t on your playlists.
PPW reporting doesn’t make those mistakes. It’s the only accurate reflection of your airplay because it comes from your music scheduling. We’ve all had calls from record companies asking why BDS showed airplay decreasing on a specific record when it didn’t. With PPWs, you have an answer. Most important, PPW reporting is a function of radio…not some outside source. And, unlike BDS, The Network Forty pays for PPW data. Every week we’ll be mailing cash bonuses to selected radio stations for their PPW participation. It may not be much, but it’s more than you’re getting from BDS. Why should they make the money off data they’re stealing from you without giving something back?
And unlike Billboard, we don’t try and define your format. If you feature new music, you’re a part of our Mainstream panel. It’s that simple. We don’t dictate; we report. Isn’t that what a trade magazine is supposed to do?
Plays Per Week and BDS are the most accurate measures of reflecting actual airplay. But unlike other trade magazines, The Network Forty believes that charts based on playlists are also an important part of the mix. That’s why we place them side by side. Plays Per Week and BDS tell you what happened last week. Our playlist chart is a prediction of what will happen this week. Both are needed to effectively monitor a record’s progress and potential.
If you are still debating whether or not to report your actual Plays Per Week, the answer should be easy. PPW reporting gives you a comparison to BDS if you’re already monitored. PPW enables you to correctly identify the constant mistakes experienced by BDS. The PPW Charts allow record companies to chart airplay on your station without wondering whether imprints appeared in promos, commercials or specialized programming. And more importantly, you control your destiny with PPW reporting. You’re not defined by an outside source.
Plus, you’re eligible for thousands of dollars in cash and prizes!
The Network Forty is building a reputation within the radio and record communities with factual reporting. The original concept for Plays Per Week came from our reporters. Its continued growth and accuracy will come from our reporters…not from outside sources. We believe in radio.
The Network Forty is your magazine for the ‘90s and beyond.