Many of you have read the recent Pew study about "cell phone onlies" versus those with landlines. Depending on who you talk to, this study may confirm Arbitron's conclusion that CPOs aren't all that different from everyone else, and that once you apply "weighting," the differences become even less significant.
Of course, we beg to differ. Our Technology Web Poll makes it very clear that CPOs are different - they are younger, and they have a propensity to listen to Alternative radio. Arbitron's studies confirm that, too.
Pew notes that politically (which is Pew's orientation), the differences between CPOs and those with landlines are miniscule. But when you're programming, managing, or own an Alternative station, you're essentially targeting just a slice of "electorate" - in this case, those in the 18-34 range.
And look at the differences, according to Pew, between CPOs and those with landlines:
They are disproportionately male, unmarried, renters, and less well off financially. It's difficult enough to own young-based formats - the future of radio - but when half of all CPOs are 18-29, what kind of representative ratings are stations getting?
Even more telling are the differences in areas outside of politics - like technology adoption/interest: when asked their feelings about computers and technology, eight of ten CPOs "like" it, versus less than half of landline only users. At a time when our focus increasingly turns to technology (Internet, email, etc.), some of the more forward-thinking users are being left out of the ratings process. At what point does weighting obscure these differences in consumers? And wouldn't the end-users (YOU) benefit from an altered data collection technique that captures these important listeners?
The more you drill down into the demo cells and specific interest areas in this Pew study, the more "yellow flags" appear, reminding us about the differences between these two groups in terms of lifestyle, and most importantly, openness to new technology.