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Too Much Fuss about Voltair


You’ve heard of Voltair, that’s the audio technology that presumably allows PPM devices to more effectively pick up that all-important encoded signal that says a radio station is near.

Every day it’s in the radio biz news headlines, and I don’t know why.

If it works, then you should buy one, shouldn’t you? Everyone should, right? It’s not an unfair advantage if it’s available to all, is it? Just go buy one and wring every last bit of credit out of those encoded signals. What are we talking about here?

Maybe it might work as described, but you don’t know for sure. Then go buy one just in case! Isn’t that why some folks have a rabbit’s foot on their keychain or read the astrology charts? Hedge your bets! After all, it was an actual guy named Voltaire who once wrote “Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe.”

This is another example of the survival of the fittest. Those who are “fittest” are those with the strongest survival advantages in their environment, whatever those happen to be. Thus, those with the advantages survive, and those without them do not.

But whatever you do, recognize what you’re really buying here: Not more listening or even more credit for listening, but more credit for exposure.

I’ve read stories that stress how this tool may allow more “accurate” measurement. Sure, but more “accurate” measurement of what?

Not engagement.

Not listenership.

Not passion.

Not interest.

Not results for your client.

Just exposure.

This gadget in your engineering department will not influence the degree to which listeners care about your content, nor will it measure it.

Voltair is just another way to game PPM, which is nothing but a big game anyway (Game mechanics? Prize money? Yep, it’s all built in to PPM).

Does it seem wrong that you have to buy a device to play this game with the rest of the fittest? Sure. But what about PPM doesn’t seem wrong?

Isn’t this why Nielsen is being challenged in the TV space by Rentrak and others who use alternative measurement technologies?

So let’s all play the game. For now.

But while you’re at it, make sure to create content real people care about and want to actually hear again and again. Because that’s why people actually listen, and in a growing number of cases, that’s why your clients are actually buying.

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