Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Junk Mail Pays

You never know when a random piece of junk mail can turn into something interesting. A couple of weeks ago, we received a piece of mail from Arbitron, the organization that gives ratings to radio stations. Enclosed was a request for both of us to record our radio listening habits for a full week; also enclosed was two dollars. We accepted the challenge and a few days later, we received our ratings booklets and ten more dollars.

So for the past six days, Ryan and I have been writing down what stations we listen to and when. We also have to tell where we heard the station, whether it be home, work, car or other. I've learned quite a bit about how I listen to the radio. For instance, I only listen to the radio in the car and with the help of the convenient 'change stations' button on the steering wheel, I found that I tend to change the station a lot. Of course, with this survey, I haven't changed the channel as often since it would be too hard to record such changes in my radio log.

Our week is up tomorrow and I'm quite thankful that I can go back to habit of changing the station when commercials come on. I never realized how annoying they were until I heard the same ones played over and over. It's definitely made me think about the luxury of my iPod and the fact that I can control what I listen to and when. Apparently Ryan's already figured that out because his log is practically blank due to his iPod usage.

So the next time you hear the phrase, "Arbitron rated number one...." you'll know how those ratings come about. And if you get a piece of junk mail from Arbitron, you'll know not to throw it out because, you, too, could help shape what's on the radio. And you could make twelve dollars out of it, too.

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