Today Inside Radio reports that after crunching the numbers from PPM, Arbitron has determined that more breaks per hour turn listeners away, and you're best off engineering two stops per hour, straddled across two adjacent quarter-hours.
That is, more breaks turn listeners away because they have more reasons to leave.
This is the obvious and intuitive answer to the question that I and others have been arguing for for years.
A = Listeners generally don't like commercials
B = Listeners are more likely to tune-out during commercials
C = The more blocks of tune-out you have, the more likely they may be to leave every time they hear a block
However, it misses one important thing, and this is the important thing missing in all analysis of tune-out:
Tune-out may matter, but tune-in matters, too.
And I have yet to see a PPM study dealing with tune-in.
Tune-in happens no matter what your spot distribution is like. Because I don't know what you're doing when I'm not yet listening to you.
Tune-in happens not because of what you're doing right now (since I don't know what that is). It happens because of what you did yesterday or the day before that or the day before that. It happens because you meet my expectations of what I want to happen on your station. Tune-in happens because your brand is powerful and compelling to me.
Tune-in happens because you have a history of delighting me or making me sing along or giving me the weather report I need or making me laugh.
Tune-in happens not because of what you're doing in this moment, but because what you might be doing now could be as good or better than it was the last time I listened to you.
Tune-in happens because of what you stand for, because of who you are. Not because of what you're doing right at this second.
Tune-in is what belt-tightening threatens. Tune-in is why you hire talent. Tune-in happens because the audience believes you care.
You'd better care.