Ratings: Higher Shares Are Driven By Daily Cume.

Ratings: Higher Shares Are Driven By Daily Cume.

by Tracy Johnson

If you want higher ratings (and who doesn’t?), create a strategy to put your station in the best position for success. But there are so many moving parts to the ratings process. Where should your attention be? The answer is simple: Daily cume.

You already know what cume is. It’s the total number of individuals that tune to your station at least one time in a week. The common cume numbers are almost always quoted as Weekly Cume. Weekly cume is important, but daily cume is the key to increased ratings.

Here’s why:

Daily Cume Drives Share

Daily cume is the percentage of listeners who tune in to your station on a day. And it’s the most important factor in building a growing ratings story.

You’ve probably heard all the reasons why delivering more occasions of listening (or tune in occasions) is the key to ratings gains. That’s true, of course. Getting your existing audience to tune in more often will increase TSL.

But programmers often emphasize getting more tune in occasions in the same daypart or the same day. That’s good, of course. But getting your audience back on more days provides more leverage.

Consider this ratings data provided by Nielsen:

Notice the highlighted fields?

The top performing stations (top 3) get 20% more daily tune-in occasions from their listeners (5.2 compared to 4.2). 20% is a significant advantage.

But a 300% advantage is even more impressive. And more important. That’s the difference between the average station (3.2%) and the top performers (10.6%). Simply put, the top stations have three times as much daily cume as the average station.

More Daily Cume Data

Could that be possible? Three times the daily cume? Yes, that’s true. It’s dramatic. But there’s more information that reinforces the point.

Among all stations in the US, the average P1 (first preference) tunes in just 2.3 days per week. Does that blow you away? What if you could increase that to 3 or 4 days per week? Your ratings would explode. And that’s driving daily cume.

You don’t have to increase your overall cume. Nor do you need more listeners. Just get the ones you already have to come back on more days of the week.

That’s why increasing daily tune-in is the fastest way to double your ratings.

3 Ways to Increase Daily Cume

There are some things you can do immediately to build your ratings.

Promote: Listeners are creatures of habit. They are available to listen every day at the same times. But we rarely promote content for the next day. Horizontal teases are designed to promote what is happening tomorrow at this same time. That can be a ratings gold mine. But you have to prepare your show in advance to tease in advance. We have some planning tools to help you with that.

Lock In Features: High profile features become mini-brands when managed properly. That includes locking them in at specific times each day. Building equity in can’t-miss moments creates a reason to remember to come back every single day. Do this enough, and the daily cume will rise.

Create Urgency: Being consistent is a good thing, but when consistency becomes part of the routine, it is mind-numbing. The audience takes you for granted. That reduces TOMA (top of mind awareness). And if the audience doesn’t think about you, they won’t remember to tune in. You become just another button on the dial. Maybe they listen, maybe they don’t. Creating specific reasons to tune in each day with a sense of urgency will keep your brand more top of mind.

And what’s the best reason to remember to tune in? Personality. High-profile radio personalities are cume magnets that can increase daily cume.


The ratings game isn’t winner take all, but there’s a world of difference in top performing stations and everyone else. Research proves that daily cume is key. Maybe it’s time to invest a little more attention on it.

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