Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Radio Monitoring

 I see it as a sign of the health of the entire industry. Over the last several years we have seen the total number of broadcast monitoring companies dwindle. Verance stopped over 5 years ago, Video Monitoring services (VMS) closed just last Fall. The RCS subsidiary Media Monitors company bought out Mediabase, and as of yesterday, Mediaguide has closed as well. Rumors are abound that Civolution/Teletrax and ACNeilsen BDS are not exactly robust. But of all these I am most concerned with the departure of Mediaguide.

Mediaguide was the only radio monitoring company that actually quantified the airplay of non-commercial radio. A few trades noted the news in mid February: Radio-Info, Inside Radio, FMQB, and All Access, all dedicated a few paragraphs to their passing, but none of them noted that unique service. It's possible that Media Monitors might expand their footprint somewhat to accommodate some of those non-commercial customers. But the high variability in non-com airplay is a unique problem; a unique problem that only Mediaguide had attempted to solve. They monitored a large number of fringe formats that all the others had forsaken: not just college radio, but also public radio, community radio, even Cajun, country oldies, standards, classical and jazz. I remember in the 1990s a mentor of mine at a record label predicted to me that this service would come into existence, that college airplay would become quantified and vindicated for it's "taste-making" power. It was nice to see that come to pass, and it's been very sad in turn, to pass by.

I went into my files and found that I still had an original Mediaguide Promo flyer from a music conference I attended in 2003. I've scanned it and posted it here for download. It's a cute flow chart cartoon only an MBA could love, but it's all I've got. Vaya con dios.