Market classification

This is probably only of interest to 2 or three people, and I’m one of the them because I have to be 🙂

There are important legal distinctions at the FCC regarding which radio stations belong to which “Market”. As others have pointed out in the past, this is not such a clear thing, since different stations have different power levels and can often be heard way outside their official market.

Communications law attorneys and certified radio engineers also make a nice living “moving” stations from one market to another, when in fact nothing changed other than the underlaying paperwork. This is all related to how many stations one owner is limited to in a “market”.

There is a highly proprietary term used in the radio business called “DMA” – it is a registered Trademark of Arbitron (now Nielson). It’s an acronym for “Designated Market Area”. You get in trouble very fast if you use the term or the underlying concept without permission.

When the FCC makes a ruling, it passes the buck off to another entity called BIA/Kelsey as the authoritative source of how many stations there are in each “market”. BIA is run for the benefit of advertisers mostly, to track advertising spending in the media (including Radio). They defer to Arbitron’s method of classifying which stations are in which market.

I *think* Arbitron uses the notion of assigning counties to markets. I’ve never looked very closely at what they do, as my need to know information about market size is fairly limited. Mainly I want to know “Is this in a major market”, and be able to generally sort by the markets from largest to smallest.

I took an entirely different approach to this than the “Radio Industry”, and at least one guy probably wishes I was in charge of this 🙂
http://rbr.com/burns-calls-for-alternative-to-arbitronbia-market-definitions/

I did more what he is suggesting – looking at where population lives, not where arbitrary county boundaries are (Connecticut doesn’t even have county governments any more, just lines on a map).

I did this a very very long time ago – probably about 1999 and I barely remember what I did. My memory is that I calculated the geographic population center of each Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and then calculated the distance from that to each city in the state, and assigned each small city to the closest (as the birds fly) MSA center. Then once I assigned each city to an MSA, I assigned all radio stations in the city to that MSA. To people “In the Biz”, my groupings are horribly wrong and stupid. People in the upper Hudson Valley are not New York City listeners, right?

There is a flaw to my update process however – there are “cities” used by the FCC that aren’t actually legal entities – like out in very rural areas, like Alaska. There are also new communities being created over time, or changing their names to sound Hispanic :)… or radio stations being created in a city that was never classified before.

But the biggest nuisance is when a callsign jumps from one city to another. Back when I was using Windows, I had a process for this. Often what happens is a really “good” callsign is released, and the someone else will snatch it up the same day (usually the current owner will just park the good name on some off the air station) or maybe even cut a deal to buy the call sign. Because the existing call sign doesn’t go away for a day, the process never corrects the market information. It’s a minor hole I’ve always known about, and fixed individual stations as I found them.

WNOW-FM in New York City is a great example – one that brought TheJerseyDevil to a screeching halt in his verification processing. WNOW-FM went from being a major CBS station in New York to being a Radio One Station located in Speedway, Indiana, a suburb of Indianapolis. Because the call sign never went away for a day, WNOW is still pointing to its CBS web site in New York, but was flagged as “Under Construction” indicating a need for a human (me) to fix it. There are 1,395 radio stations in my queue to be “fixed” for a variety of reasons. WNOW having had an HD2 and HD3 subchannel tied to it In New York is yet another problem – as the station Indiana doesn’t have them and WNOW/HD2 is not theirs and isn’t picked up by the call sign change as it isn’t actually a “License”.

There is no way for a volunteer to fix a wrong market designation. You can however, fix the station’s URL and Format. I see anything you change and if I disagree with what you did, I’ll fix it behind you.

You also have the power to click on History and add a comment explaining what you did. If you don’t know what to do, click Ignore Station and move on. I can’t spend two hours explaining every station’s reason for being wrong to each person one at a time. This process is probably futile as all that I see is people making excuses why they can’t help.

Atlas Shrugged Part III opens on September 12, 2014, less than a month from now.

I’ve created a process now to clean up these market areas automatically, although they can actually make things worse.

Here is the list that were outdated. Some are just that the community of license changed, not that there was an abrupt move of a call sign:

+-------------+-------------------+-------+------+-------------------+-------+------+
| streamname  | FCC City          | state | New  | Old City          | state | Old  |
+-------------+-------------------+-------+------+-------------------+-------+------+
| WURO-LD LD  | ROSCOMMON         | MI    | NULL | Sterling          | MI    | NULL |
| WUWB-LD LD  | WEST BRANCH       | MI    | NULL | Sterling          | MI    | NULL |
| K253BJ      | ALGONA            | IA    | NULL | Humboldt          | IA    | NULL |
| KLSY FM     | MONTESANO         | WA    | NULL | South Bend        | WA    | NULL |
| KYZZ FM     | SALINAS           | CA    |   79 | Big Sur           | CA    | NULL |
| WLVO-LD LD  | CUMMING           | GA    | NULL | Helen             | GA    | NULL |
| WNOW FM/HD  | SPEEDWAY          | IN    |   41 | New York          | NY    |    1 |
| WNOW FM/HD2 | SPEEDWAY          | IN    |   41 | New York          | NY    |    1 |
| WNOW FM/HD3 | SPEEDWAY          | IN    |   41 | New York          | NY    |    1 |
| KVTU-LP TX  | AGOURA HILLS      | CA    | NULL | Los Angeles       | CA    |    2 |
| WNEW FM/HD  | BOWIE             | MD    | NULL | Annapolis         | MD    |    8 |
| W266CF      | CAROLINA          | PR    |   13 | Luquillo          | PR    |   13 |
| WRZX FM/HD  | GREENVILLE        | OH    |   58 | Indianapolis      | IN    |   41 |
| WRZX FM/HD2 | GREENVILLE        | OH    |   58 | Indianapolis      | IN    |   41 |
| WNOU FM/HD  | INDIANOLA         | MS    | NULL | Speedway          | IN    |   41 |
| KLGO AM     | ELGIN             | TX    |   42 | Austin            | TX    |   42 |
| W225AR      | ROCHESTER         | NY    |   54 | Webster           | NY    |   54 |
| W235AY      | ALBANY            | NY    |   62 | Troy              | NY    |   62 |
| WABY AM     | WATERVLIET        | NY    | NULL | Mechanicville     | NY    |   62 |
| WEPT-CA CA  | KINDERHOOK        | NY    | NULL | Albany            | NY    |   62 |
| W283BJ      | MOUNTAIN TOP      | PA    |   69 | Wilkes-Barre      | PA    |   69 |
| WNML FM/HD  | FRIENDSVILLE      | TN    | NULL | Loudon            | TN    |   71 |
| K236BY      | PLATTSMOUTH       | NE    |   72 | Nebraska City     | NE    |   72 |
| KMZT FM     | BIG SUR           | CA    | NULL | Salinas           | CA    |   79 |
| WMAS FM/HD  | ENFIELD           | CT    |   50 | Springfield       | MA    |   82 |
| W290CB      | WINTERVILLE       | NC    | NULL | New Bern          | NC    |   87 |
| W266AL      | PENSACOLA         | FL    |  123 | Bay Minette       | AL    |   93 |
| WIBA FM/HD  | SAUK CITY         | WI    |   96 | Madison           | WI    |   96 |
| WXKE FM     | CHURUBUSCO        | IN    |  105 | Fort Wayne        | IN    |  105 |
| KFTY-LD LD  | MIDDLETOWN        | CA    |  118 | Santa Rosa        | CA    |  118 |
| WWIZ FM     | WEST MIDDLESEX    | PA    | NULL | Mercer            | PA    |  119 |
| K223AL      | RENO              | NV    |  124 | South Lake Tahoe  | CA    |  124 |
| KEZF FM     | PINE BLUFFS       | WY    | NULL | Fort Collins      | CO    |  126 |
| KEHO-LD LD  | HOUSTON           | TX    |    7 | Beaumont          | TX    |  133 |
| KQCS FM     | DE WITT           | IA    |  143 | Bettendorf        | IA    |  143 |
| WCPY FM     | ARLINGTON HEIGHTS | IL    | NULL | DeKalb            | IL    |  152 |
| WQNS FM/HD  | WOODFIN           | NC    | NULL | Waynesville       | NC    |  161 |
| WQNS FM/HD2 | WOODFIN           | NC    | NULL | Waynesville       | NC    |  161 |
| K248AR      | MIDLAND           | TX    |  188 | Stanton           | TX    |  188 |
| WBYB FM     | ELDRED            | PA    | NULL | Kane              | PA    |  210 |
| WKUW-LD LD  | WHITE HOUSE       | TN    | NULL | Bowling Green     | KY    |  211 |
| W288CV      | COLUMBUS          | GA    |  187 | Americus          | GA    |  269 |
| WVPB FM/HD  | CHARLESTON        | WV    |  181 | Beckley           | WV    |  293 |
| KIMO FM     | TOWNSEND          | MT    | NULL | Great Falls       | MT    |  295 |
| WSBW FM     | EPHRAIM           | WI    | NULL | Sister Bay        | WI    | 9998 |
| K227BK      | POPLAR BLUFF      | MO    | NULL | Malden            | MO    | 9998 |
| K236AR      | MISSOURI CITY     | TX    |    7 | Angleton          | TX    | 9998 |
| K238AE      | CLEARLAKE         | CA    | NULL | Lucerne           | CA    | 9998 |
| K242AD      | UKIAH             | CA    | NULL | Boonville         | CA    | 9998 |
| K253BO      | TEXARKANA         | AR    |  263 | Nashville         | AR    | 9998 |
| K269DB      | CARSON CITY       | NV    |  124 | Stateline         | NV    | 9998 |
| K283BP      | HELENA            | MT    | NULL | Boulder           | MT    | 9998 |
| K295BF      | ROYSE CITY        | TX    | NULL | Greenville        | TX    | 9998 |
| KGCO FM     | FORT COLLINS      | CO    |  126 | Pine Bluffs       | WY    | 9998 |
| KJWP DT     | WILMINGTON        | DE    |   75 | Jackson           | WY    | 9998 |
| KLWB FM     | CARENCRO          | LA    | NULL | Opelousas         | LA    | 9998 |
| KZET FM     | TOWAOC            | CO    | NULL | Cortez            | CO    | 9998 |
| KZMG FM     | MELBA             | ID    | NULL | Elko              | NV    | 9998 |
| W201CD      | ITHACA            | NY    |  179 | Lansing           | NY    | 9998 |
| W239BF      | ROCHESTER         | NY    |   54 | Greece            | NY    | 9998 |
| W242CF      | MEMPHIS           | TN    |   49 | Byhalia           | MS    | 9998 |
| W245BL      | DUNDEE            | NY    | NULL | Branchport        | NY    | 9998 |
| W246CJ      | JACKSONVILLE      | NC    |   87 | Morehead City     | NC    | 9998 |
| W247BN      | KINGSTREE         | SC    |  215 | Santee            | SC    | 9998 |
| W256CD      | FULTONDALE        | AL    | NULL | Talladega         | AL    | 9998 |
| W258AJ      | MURRAY            | KY    |  206 | Paris             | TN    | 9998 |
| W259BT      | SOUTH FULTON      | TN    | NULL | Dyersburg         | TN    | 9998 |
| W267AM      | WINSTON-SALEM     | NC    |   45 | Mocksville        | NC    | 9998 |
| W267BM      | HAWESVILLE        | KY    | NULL | Tell City         | IN    | 9998 |
| W272CT      | ST AUGUSTINE      | FL    |   48 | Palm Coast        | FL    | 9998 |
| W280DT      | LAC DU FLAMBEAU   | WI    | NULL | Minocqua          | WI    | 9998 |
| W293BV      | COLUMBUS          | GA    |  187 | Cuthbert          | GA    | 9998 |
| WCNX-LPFM   | COVINGTON         | KY    | NULL | Independence      | KY    | 9998 |
| WCPT FM     | DEKALB            | IL    |  152 | Arlington Heights | IL    | 9998 |
| WCXE-LPFM   | ERLANGER          | KY    |   28 | Walton            | KY    | 9998 |
| WJWN DT     | SAN SEBASTIAN     | PR    | NULL | San Sebastian     | PR    | 9998 |
| WLDN FM     | LUDINGTON         | MI    | NULL | Pentwater         | MI    | 9998 |
| WRSS AM     | SAN SEBASTIAN     | PR    | NULL | San Sebastian     | PR    | 9999 |
| KCYT FM     | FAYETTEVILLE      | AR    |  141 | Ozark             | AR    | 9999 |
| KDUX FM     | HOQUIAM           | WA    | NULL | Aberdeen          | WA    | 9999 |
| KIKT FM     | COOPER            | TX    | NULL | Greenville        | TX    | 9999 |
| KSHK FM     | HANAMAULU         | HI    | NULL | Kekaha            | HI    | 9999 |
| KSLG FM     | ARCATA            | CA    | NULL | Hydesville        | CA    | 9999 |
| KUAI AM     | KEKAHA            | HI    | NULL | Eleele            | HI    | 9999 |
| KWOK AM     | ABERDEEN          | WA    | NULL | Hoquiam           | WA    | 9999 |
| KXGO FM     | HYDESVILLE        | CA    | NULL | Arcata            | CA    | 9999 |
| WCGB AM     | JUANA DIAZ        | PR    | NULL | Juana Diaz        | PR    | 9999 |
| WGIT AM     | CANOVANAS         | PR    | NULL | Canovanas         | PR    | 9999 |
| WIBT FM     | GREENVILLE        | MS    | NULL | Indianola         | MS    | 9999 |
| WLRP AM     | SAN SEBASTIAN     | PR    | NULL | San Sebastian     | PR    | 9999 |
| WPPC AM     | PENUELAS          | PR    | NULL | Penuelas          | PR    | 9999 |
+-------------+-------------------+-------+------+-------------------+-------+------+

9998 and 9999 mean “I don’t know – that city isn’t in the database or was never assigned to a metro area”.

For example, WNEW-FM was originally in Annapolis, Maryland, which is part of the Washington DC Market. The station now is located in Bowie, Maryland, which I never assigned to a metro area – because there was no radio station claiming to be licensed to serve the city of Bowie. WNEW is now the only one. WNEW is the station that CBS recently bought to create an all news station in the DC area.

If I had infinite time and actual helpers, I might try to fix these kinds of problems.

Here is the Month to date volunteer stats:

+--------+----------------+
| vcount | username       |
+--------+----------------+
|    573 | editor         |
|    403 | CharlotteNC    |
|      8 | janderson021   |
|      7 | WesternMA      |
|      1 | Tom505         |
|      1 | TheJerseyDevil |
+--------+----------------+

Intentions are lovely things.

This entry was posted in About the Guide, Volunteer. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply