Pandora Tops a Very Questionable LA Radio Survey*

The LA Times got it right with their headline “Pandora: The No. 1 Radio Station in Los Angeles?” Because it’s highly doubtful that this is actually the case.

As Radio Ink magazine points out,* the top LA station in the March 2012 PPM ratings, KFI AM 640, very suspiciously failed to crack the top five of this separate fall 2011 Media Audit phone survey. Which perhaps suggests – more than anything – that young Internet-savvy music listeners are most likely to pick up the phone when Caller ID displays “Unknown” or a toll-free telemarketing number. Per Radio Ink:

During the months of September and October, The Media Audit conducted phone surveys of adults 18+ who said in the previous week they had listened to Pandora. Pandora was followed by KIIS-FM/KVVS-FM, KNX-AM, KROQ-FM and KOST-FM.

In the comments for the Radio Ink article, reader Bob insists everyone he knows is tuning in Pandora Internet Radio – in the car, at work, on a device. Maybe in Bob’s neighborhood and select other neighborhoods, like Sunset Junction. But overall, we’re not buying it.

Update – 04/26/12: There’s now also a Radio Ink guest op-ed by Katz Radio’s Mary Beth Garber. She says one of the other problems is that Pandora is not actually a radio station.

*We also heard from a rep for The Media Audit, who noted that the March 2012 PPM numbers originally referenced by Radio Ink are for Average Quarter Hour (AQH). In the broader (and more similar to The Media Audit’s survey) PPM category of Cume, e.g. the number of people who tune in to a particular station over a week-long period, KFI ranked 17th for March 2012.