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What is Sean Hannity Smoking?


“It’s the single biggest threat to the radio business today, the measurement system is flawed in a dramatic way.”

So says Sean Hannity in Radio Ink:

For example, in New York, if you’re listening to The Sean Hannity Radio Show on the WOR website, even if you have a Portable People Meter, I can’t get credit for that. We know that WABC, at times, had well over 1.4 million people listening online. If we can’t get credit for that, then all the data that’s being put out there is just inaccurate. Then you add to that those people who listen to me on satellite. That’s unmeasured. If people listen on my website, that’s not measured. I’m a big proponent of iHeart-Radio, but that’s also unmeasured.

Let’s leave aside the question of whether PPM data is “accurate” in any sense of the word.

Let’s also leave aside whether Sean is accurately reporting his online listening numbers (his estimates seem wildly overstated to me).

Although he doesn’t specify, by “credit” he obviously means “Nielsen credit,” because the fact that Sean knows what the numbers are means he is getting credited for those numbers. His listening via online radio is most definitely being measured, just as every broadcaster and pure-play with a streaming platform and the desire for metrics is being measured.

Is it just me, or is it some kind of shame that an audience of 1.4 million people (according to Sean) evidently can’t be monetized? How can it possibly be that a broadcaster can’t sell an audience of more than a million people where messages can presumably be tailored to those people based on their geography and, potentially, their age and gender?

As for the folks listening to Hannity on satellite, did he provide that show to SiriusXM for free? Or is SiriusXM paying for it? In other words, has the show been effectively monetized for that audience already irrespective of the size of the audience? Is Sean looking to have the show monetized twice for the same audience?

Of course, listeners to Hannity’s show online are measured. Ditto for his website. Ditto for listening on iHeartRadio. And they’re measured with infinitely more precision and accuracy than the scattershot technology of stray beepers parachuted into households that thinly dot every PPM market and are heavily bribed to sport them.

It seems to me that Hannity should complain less about the fact that Nielsen doesn’t roll up his number and complain more about the fact that the numbers he references, as large as he claims them to be, aren’t being sold.

Hannity says he has “a couple million” online radio listeners. Yet this audience can’t be sold?

Maybe that is the biggest threat to the radio industry today.

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