Prospects for measuring children's radio listening in the U.S. using the seven-day personal diary method

Date of publication: May 1, 1994


In the fall of 1993 Arbitron conducted a special diary pilot study to measure radio listening among children 02-Nov and the adults in their households. Jointly sponsored by Arbitron and the Children's Satellite Network (CSN), the study included a detailed methodological evaluation to assess the feasibility of ongoing children’s measurement using standard diary methods. The pilot study achieved an excellent response rate of nearly 60%, good retumed- diary usability rates, and near-perfect representation of children in the in- tab sample. Post survey interviews with adults and children age 08-Nov in the study households yielded positive feedback on respondents’ experiences with the survey. Interview results suggest parents did provide the support needed to help children properly complete their diaries, and that the large majority of in-tab diaries provided a reasonably complete record of children’s total listening. Based on a detailed evaluation of study results, Arbitron's Methods Research department recommends that the “parent-assisted” diary method be continued for future children's radio measurement. Evaluation of listening estimates indicates that radio reaches 91% of children 2-11. Children spend less time per week listening than do adults or teens; however, during weekdays they are very consistent in the amount of time spent with each day part. Whereas Monday-Friday 6AM-10AM is the peak day part for Persons 12+, Monday-Sunday 3PM-7PM is the peak day part for children. Saturday-Sunday listening of children is very similar to that of adults and teens. Overall, their listening patterns are more similar to teens’ than to adults. Persons in households with children tend to spend more of their listening time in-car than does the radio listening population as a whole.

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