Ever wondered how commercial radio surveys are conducted?
Nielsen currently holds the radio rating contract for audience measurement in Australia. A diary system is used for measuring audiences in the larger radio markets.
Eight surveys are done each year in each of the five major capital cities. These cities are surveyed for 39 weeks of the year. In addition other smaller markets are surveyed on an ad hoc basis. In 2009, 48 974 diaries were collected and processed within metropolitan cities and 12 111 were collected in some of the regional areas in Australia.
Radio diary participants are geographically selected in proportion to the distribution of the population. Each market is split into geographic regions and sub-regions dubbed statistical local areas (SLAs). Each SLA is split further into interviewing areas or census collectors districts (CD's).
Homes are then statistically selected and approached within these CD's. A "single source lifestyle questionnaire" is enclosed in the diary. The diary contains relevant lifestyle and purchasing habits/intentions relating to the household.
One person more than 10 years of age living in the home is given a diary. Each person is required to record their radio listening in the diary for one seven-day period from Sunday through to Saturday.
The diary in each market is pre-formatted and the main stations are listed across the top and bottom of each page. Stations that are not listed are recorded in the "other AM" and "other FM" columns. Each quarter hour of the day between 5.30am and midnight is listed. There are separate columns to indicate "place of listening".
Diaries are collected at the end of each week and, after a 10-week period, the completed diaries are processed to produce data relating to an average week of the survey period.