Two Iconic Business Models That Failed — 2
In 2001-2002 I did some consulting with Arbitron--the company that measures the listenership of radio stations around the country. It sent out little pocket diaries and asked people to keep track for a week of what they listened to on the radio. I traveled several times to the Arbitron HQ in Columbia, Maryland where I had meetings with various department heads and wrote and designed some promotional material. On a ZipDisk somewhere might be the creative work I did. But my experience working with Arbitron is hazy at best.
What is not hazy is that several months after we parted company, I received a call from Arbitron asking if I would agree to accept one of the diaries, keep track of what I listened to on the radio for a week, and then return the diary.
I said yes.
I received the little pocket-sized diary and some $1 bills—Arbitron’s way of saying thank-you for participating.
It was a nightmare week. I had real problems, and I realized Arbitron had real problems.
Recently the egg has hit the fan for Arbitron—and radio stations nationwide.
You could call me a child of radio. I was born in 1935 and grew up during WWII. During the War, the family would gather in the den to hear the latest war news from Edward R. Murrow, H.V. Kaltenborn and Gabriel Heatter. My grandmother’s favorite newscaster was Lowell Thomas.
As a kid, after school I would listen to the afternoon adventure serials that ran 15 minutes each—“Hop Harrigan,” “Captain Midnight,” “Terry and the Pirates,” “Jack Armstrong” and “Superman.” Other programs: “The Lone Ranger,” “Fibber McGee & Molly,” “It Pays to Be Ignorant,” “Your Hit Parade,” “The Shadow,” “Can You Top This?” and “Truth or Consequences.”
As I recall, we got our first television set for Christmas in 1947 and listening gradually changed to viewing habits.