Former Analyst Challenges USAGM Audience Measurement Methods, Claims of Sharp Increases
By Dan Robinson
A former analyst for the U.S. Agency for Global Media, which oversees taxpayer-funded broadcast and online media directed at overseas audiences, has publicly challenged the methods used by the agency in making audience size claims.
An audience research analyst for the U.S. Agency for Global Media (formerly the Broadcasting Board of Governors) for many years, Kim Elliott, Ph.D., is the first former official to raise questions about USAGM figures.
His views, published online by the University of Southern California Center for Public Diplomacy blog, also appeared first in a small circulation subscription journal published by NASWA (North American Shortwave Association). This article is based on both pieces.[…]
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Kim Andrew Elliott, who shares the following article and writes:
USAGM (US International Broadcasting and Associated Media) reported a 24 percent increase in measured audience in 2018. Why the sudden increase? Did a major war break out? No, the measurement methodology changed …
THE USAGM AUDIENCE INCREASE: LESS STARTLING THAN MEETS THE EYE
by Kim Andrew Elliott
A February 2019 email newsletter from John Lansing, CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media (new name for the Broadcasting Board of Governors) proclaimed that “2018 was a banner year” for USAGM. He noted that “USAGM programming was consumed by 345 million adults weekly worldwide—including radio, television and internet—an unprecedented year-on-year increase of 67 million from 2017.” This refers to the USAGM’s Audience Impact Overview for 2018 issued November 2018.
That would be a 24 percent increase in one year. As an international broadcasting audience research analyst for 42 years (10 in academia and 32 for the Voice of America and its parent agencies), a 24 percent “year-on-year” increase gets my notice. Why there was such a dramatic increase? Did a major war break out, causing people to seek information from abroad? No, nothing beyond the ongoing simmering regional conflicts. Did one of the USAGM entities score a new television affiliate, with a prime-time slot in a populous country? If that had caused the increase, I am sure it would have been highlighted in the report.
According to the press release (apparently no longer at the USAGM website but available here), “The measured weekly audience grew to 345 million people in FY 2018, from 278 million people in FY 2017, an unprecedented increase of 67 million.” The reader could easily interpret this as a sudden one-year audience increase of 67 million, but it is actually a change in the “measured” audience.[…]
CAN HUMANS SENSE MAGNETIC STORMS? Close your eyes and relax. Daydream about something pleasant. In this state your brain is filled with “alpha waves,” a type of electrical brainwave associated with wakeful relaxation.
Now try it during a geomagnetic storm. It may not be so easy. A new study just published in the journal eNeuro by researchers at Caltech offers convincing evidence that changes in Earth’s magnetic field can suppress alpha waves in the human brain.
From the Isle of Music, March 31-April 6, 2019
In a very special treat for our Russian-speaking listeners, our special guest this week is Robert Kel Torres, who has worked in Russia and sings some of his songs in Russian. In the second half, we listen to music by Chuchito Valdés.
1. For Eastern Europe but audible well beyond the target area in most of the Eastern Hemisphere (including parts of East Asia and Oceania) with 100Kw, Sunday 1500-1600 UTC on SpaceLine, 9400 KHz, from Sofia, Bulgaria (1800-1900 MSK) Station website: www.spaceline.bg
2. For the Americas and parts of Europe, Tuesday 0000-0100 UTC (New UTC) on WBCQ, 7490 KHz from Monticello, ME, USA (Monday 8-9PM EST in the US).
Station website: www.wbcq.com
3 & 4. For Europe and sometimes beyond, Tuesday 1900-2000 UTC and Saturday 1200-1300 UTC on Channel 292, 6070 KHz from Rohrbach, Germany.
Station website: www.channel292.de
Uncle Bill’s Melting Pot, March 31 and April 2, 2019:
That’s Odd, Uncle Bill!
Episode 106 is dedicated to the music of the late, great Don Ellis, a pioneer in several aspects of modern Jazz including the use of advanced odd meters.
The transmissions take place:
1.Sundays 2200-2230 UTC (6:00PM -6:30PM Eastern US) on WBCQ The Planet 7490 KHz from the US to the Americas and parts of Europe
2. Tuesdays 2000-2030 UTC on Channel 292, 6070 KHz from Rohrbach, Germany for Europe.
Marion’s Attic, a unique program produced and hosted by Marion Webster featuring early 20th Century records, Edison cylinders etc played on the original equipment, comes on immediately before UBMP on Sundays from 2100-2200 UTC on WBCQ 7490 Khz.
The article is bang on though – AM radio is still very strong and thriving in Australia & the USA. Here in Australia at least, it’s DAB that has a minimal audience compared to traditional AM broadcast.
I just found both of these articles very interesting reading and thought you might like to put them up.
Have a great day,
Thank you very much for sharing these articles, Jason! Earlier today, we posted a note about digital AM here in the States (AM HD). There is a movement to increase this offering, but for true market penetration it would require car radios that can receive AM HD. Many a DXer dislikes AM HD because the digital signals are (unlike DAB+) inserted between analog signals. These band crowding sometimes causes interference to adjacent analog stations and certainly affects mediumwave DXing.
A prominent advocate for the AM band is petitioning the FCC to allow stations to use all-digital transmissions in the United States.
Bryan Broadcasting Corp. on Monday filed a petition for rulemaking asking the commission to initiate a proceeding to authorize the MA3 all-digital mode of HD Radio for any AM station that chooses to do so.
Permitting such modernization would “give AM broadcasters a needed innovative tool with which to compete” without harming others in the spectrum ecosystem, it wrote.
Bryan is licensee of four AM stations, five FMs and six FM translators in Central Texas. Ben Downs is the vice president and general manager, and submitted the petition along with the company’s attorney David Oxenford of Wilkinson Barker Knauer. Downs also has served on the NAB board in the past, and he has been a vocal advocate for various regulatory steps to “revitalize” the AM band.
All HD Radio receivers in the market that have AM functionality would be able to receive such all-digital signals. But legacy AM receivers would not, which has long been a barrier to serious discussion of all-digital. Now, some observers say, the availability of FM translators for AM licensees has made something that once seemed unthinkable at least worth discussing.
There is one AM station in the country with special temporary authority to broadcast in all-digital. Hubbard’s WWFD in Frederick, Md., near the nation’s capital has been on the air since last summer. The station’s Dave Kolesar has been speaking in public about the ongoing experiment and will do so again at the upcoming NAB Show.[…]