I am sure that before every ratings period you remind your staff about the rules and regulations regarding what you can and cannot do both on and off the air during the ratings sweeps. Today comes a timely reminder from Numeris, as a Toronto radio station has been found to be in breach, because one of their staff reacted to a tweet during the ratings.
CFXJ-FM “Flow” Toronto has been found in breach of Rule 1 – Ratings Distortion. The breach resulted from an employee re-tweeting and responding to a tweet from a Numeris diary respondent. The respondent posted a picture of their Numeris diary with the following comment, “Best believe am filling in @FLOW93.5 on every page oh and getting paid for it”. The employee re-tweeted the respondent’s tweet with the comment ‘HECK YES!!!’.
Rule 1 states that there is no reason for a member to have contact with a respondent and as a result the Radio Rules Committee found the station in breach. The station has fully cooperated with Numeris and reviewed Numeris best practices with their staff, even before requested by the Committee.
It should be noted that this violation occurred in the diary service outside of the Toronto market and as a result the Toronto meter commercial service is unaffected.
Avoiding a Similar Violation
The Rules Committee recognizes that many radio personalities and stations use Twitter, Facebook, and similar sites to maintain contact with their listeners and that station staff can easily get caught up when engaging their audience through social media and not always stop to consider whether each interaction is appropriate. The Committee asked that Numeris let the membership know about Flow’s violation in hopes of preventing similar missteps in the future. We would also like to take this opportunity to review the rules and practical do’s and don’ts related to interactions with survey respondents.
Numeris provided the membership with a guide to survey respondent interaction in early 2015 to assist broadcasters in educating their staff. The guide provides practical advice on the application of the Rules and Regulations. A copy is attached for your reference. You can use the guide with your staff or if you prefer a Numeris Member Services Executive can make a presentation to your staff.
Remember: It is against Numeris rules for diary and meter participants to reveal their identity to anyone or to contact radio stations about their participation. And, it is against the rules for station personnel to have any contact with diary and meter participants.
If you require clarification or have any questions, please contact your Numeris Member Services Executive.