Mercury Research Calls Us ‘Full of Crap.’ We Agree.

We posted the following comment over at the Radio Marketing Nexus blog in response to their post calling us Haters of Radio:

    “Guess what? We like radio and listen to it frequently. We even used to work in radio.

    We don’t like marketing surveys that appear to be self-serving to the organizations that conduct them. We won’t impugn your survey methods, because frankly, we’re busy.”

They respond with vim, vigor and bubbles, after the jump…

Mark replied:

    “Well, Bob, maybe you should have done your homework then before drawing conclusions about who did what under whose sponsorship.

    We paid for the study ourselves, it so happens. And anyone who spends any time on this blog knows full well that we call a spade a spade, whether it suits the industry or not. Look around and see for yourself.

    If you’re too busy writing a bubble-headed post to study up on our survey methods or at least refer to the limitations we noted in our post and our industry communications, then I suggest you acknowledge your ignorance so your readers know how full of crap you are.”

We would’ve retorted, but Mark closed the comments, presumably to head us off from saying something like this:

    “Our readers already know how full of crap we are. That’s why they read.

    P.S. Bob’s your uncle, not my name. “

Which we emailed to him. He replied back, “I fixed the name. Sorry about that. Not intentional.”

Mark is probably a fine fellow and it’s not cool to hate radio, it’s fool. But if the response to our survey and posts is any idication, is questionable how “beyond reproach” his numbers are. Perhaps there’s stat-hoes amongst you readers that would like to check it out and report back?

If not, that’s okay, we’ll just let this one die. Like radio.



Edit Your Comment

  1. non-meat-stick says:

    Radio can eat it, I prefer my own personalized radio on my DAP. I have Commercials in there so it’s like I’m listening to radio. I also throw in edited Hip-Hop and some fluff pop music that makes me want to gouge my ears out with a spoon. Then I top it off with a bunch of lame overplayed 70’s corporate rock (Seager, not that there’s anything wrong with that) just to give that final touch that I’m listening to the radio. Oh yeah, and then I remove all the music I want to hear. Yup, sorry radio, you loose again…

  2. Readers keen to continue to elevate Mark Ramsey’s blood pressure might like to peruse his Mercury Radio Research site. It would appear that a “Passionate Commitment to Quality” does not preclude making one’s site with a FrontPage template.

    Fertile soil for ridicule may be found, by those terribly childish minds who persist in failing to recognise the invaluable services done to society by the selfless souls who dedicate themselves to the noble vocation of marketing, on the testimoni-, I mean, Proof, page.

  3. I think with the wider variety offered on Satellite Radio, it is a lot more appealing, but mainstream radio is a dying genre. Commercial breaks are getting longer, DJs think they outshine the music; it’s a lot of drivel. When was the last time you heard 2 songs back to back on a station above 92 on the FM dial? Between all that, plus payola scandals and who knows what else, commercial radio is absolute crap. The only way I’d be at all interested in HD Radio would be if it was so huge that it forced stations to focus a little more on music and less on everything else. College and Community/NPR radio are the only stations worth anything these days.

  4. RowdyRoddyPiper says:

    My new alias is officially Guy Zapoleon.

  5. They said crap, heh, heh.

    They’re missing the point. Radio as they know it will be dead.

    I also have to post here because comments are closed over there, lol. And only after what, four posts? That HAS to be a consumerist record, no? Thanks RMN for proving the point that radio just doesn’t have a clue. So much for free speech.

    “The fact that the satellite companies and Apple are motivated by the same exact thing is missed, because they’re seen as the anti-radio, which has to be better.”

    This post by someone there sums up the problem too. So what if it’s missed. That’s not the point by a longshot. Who isn’t driven by money? The difference is at least Apple and satellite are doing something about consumer complaints and offering more services – why do you think iTunes, XM and Sirius have blown up?

    Maybe instead of throwing up your hands and saying ‘There’s nothing I can do,’ why not get the greedy owners noted by the poster in terrrestial radio to actually do the same things as Apple does. Not just calling radio ‘Free’, because then it wouldn’t suck so much. 92.3 K-Rock ‘Free radio’. What a joke. That’s your big strategy to get listeners back? Calling it ‘Free’? Please.

    As far as accuracy of polls, it’s the opinions of the everyday readers here as much as anything that determine poll and survey results, not just the opinion of the higher-ups. We can’t all be full of shit now – can we?


  6. AcidReign says:

    …..Once upon a time, radio was pretty much the sole source of “listen before you buy” music. That’s not the case now. Would I listen to high-def radio? Maybe. I’d be interested to gauge whether it really is much of an improvement, sound-wise. Now, if they still add compression and speed songs up to chipmunk-levels to put more commercials in, well, it’s nothing new, really.

    …..But to be fair, the only time I normally turn the radio on is when my college football team isn’t on TV and I don’t have tickets, maybe three times a year. I also turn the radio on in the house when I’m going on a trip, to help make the place sound a little more inhabited.

    War Eagle

  7. Buckhorn says:

    I’ve got some stats skillz and what I could find of the survey on the link above seems fair, although the description he gives at the end is a bit sketchy.

    He does say that this is a “slice of PR,” which is probably about all it’s good for (oh, and you can subscribe to their research reports! who would’ve guessed?).

    If you gave 1000 people a survey and used just descriptions and no brand names I wouldn’t be surprised to find that people say they prefer several other brands of MP3 players over iPods, but when it comes time to choose in the store people overwhelmingly go with the iPod. So, the survey is less a true marketing/forecasting survey and more of an opinion poll and people are notorious for being wrong about their behaviors on these types of surveys. [Gladwell’s book Blink talks about this phenomenon] The fact that they’re charging a fee to get the full survey is very questionable given it’s relatively low merit, but I guess that’s the whole reason for posting what little information they did.

    If I were planning to roll out HD radio or build portable HDR players this survey would be helpful only in pointing out that people are still OK with radio, but to try and conclude that people will stop buying iPods based on what little research we have access to in the post would be foolish.

  8. RowdyRoddyPiper says:

    As a self confessed prematurely aged NPR supporter, I have to wonder if Terry Gross will have anything to say about Mark’s choice of book title.

    I am also a bit of a stat hoe which probably contributed to my premature aging. I’ll tick off my questions on the survey below:

    1) Categorization: Survey responses are bucketed into which format is listened to. How is this accomplished? Does the respondent indicate which format they listen to most, do they enumerate which percentage of their listening time is spent in each format? There is also no bucket for “Does not Listen to Radio”. Presumably you can either not include people that do not currently listen to radio or put them in an inappropriate bucket, this will bias your sample incredibly.

    2) Respondent selection: If he knows they are cell phone or unlisted respondents that is one thing and it is bad. If he knows that his phone list contains unlisted and cell phone only respondents, that’s quite another and it’s good. I’m not sure how you survey people that are under 18 without gettng parental consent.

    3) Number of questions. It’s very difficult to get good survey and response statistics with a simple either or question. I know that Mark Acknowledges this partly, but it doesn’t excuse sloppy survey construction. Presumably if you are asking one question it should be no huge stretch to ask a few more. I also don’t know how the iPod was described but the HD radio had all positive descriptions. I would frame the questions in terms of individual attributes of each device and have the respondent rate them in terms of importance. Possibly do something along the lines of rate the following features from 1 to 5 (1 being not important at all 5 being very important). You could also have them rate the features 1 to n, where n is the number of features.

    Mark, if you’re reading, let me know I’ll be happy to construct a proper survey for you and analyze the data. Let me know.