Glossary of Terms


Alternate City of Identification

A city, other than its legally authorized city of license, with which a station may regularly ID.


A statistical technique that assigns diary credit based on the eligible stations' historical (previous available survey year) diary mentions in the county from which the diary was received. The diary mentions are transformed into probability ranges for the purpose of assigning credit. A random number is generated, and, within whichever station's range the number falls, that station receives credit.

Average Quarter Hour Persons

The estimated average number of persons listening to a station during a particular daypart. For stations not on the air 24 hours/day, AQH Persons refers to the time the station was on the air during the particular daypart. This estimate, expressed in hundreds (00), is shown for the Metro, TSA and DMA in applicable Nielsen Radio Market Reports.

Average Quarter-Hour Rating

The Average Quarter-Hour Persons estimate expressed as a percentage of the appropriate estimated population. This estimate is shown for the Metro and DMA in applicable Nielsen Radio Market Reports.

Average Quarter Hour Share

The Average Quarter-Hour Persons estimate for a given station expressed as a percentage of the Metro Total Average Quarter-Hour Persons estimate within a reported daypart. This estimate is shown only for the Metro in Nielsen Radio Market Reports.

Below-the Line Listing

Describes how a station's estimates are printed in a Radio Market Report. A station may be listed "below-the-line" if it has engaged in activities determined by Nielsen Audio to have Rating Bias or Rating Distortion potential. Below-the-line may also refer to a station being listed as an "outside" station (rather than a "home" station).

Condensed Radio Market Report (CRMR)

One of two types of Nielsen Radio Market Reports. Condensed Reports have smaller sample objectives for the Metro and TSA, and contain fewer dayparts and demographics, than Standard Radio Market Reports.

Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (CMSA)

Refers to a grouping of closely related Primary Metropolitan Statistical Areas, as defined by the U.S. government's Office of Management and Budget.

Cume Duplication

The percentage of estimated Cume Persons for one station that also listened to another station. This estimate is shown only for the Metro in Nielsen Radio Market Reports.

Cume Persons

The estimated number of different persons listening to a station during a particular daypart (Cume estimates may also be referred to as "cumulative" or "unduplicated" estimates.) This estimate, expressed in hundreds (00), is shown for the Metro, TSA and DMA in applicable Nielsen Radio Market Reports.

Cume Rating

The Cume Persons estimate expressed as a percentage of the appropriate estimated population. This estimate is shown only for the Metro in Nielsen Radio Market Reports.


A time period for which audience estimates may be reported (e.g., Monday-Sunday 6AM-Midnight, Monday-Friday 6AM-1OAM, Monday-Friday 6AM-7AM).

Demographic Groups

Classifications of populations according to sex, age, race, ethnicity, income, etc.

Designated Market Area (DMA)

Nielsen's geographic market design which defines each television market exclusive of others based on measurable viewing patterns. Every county or split county in the United States is assigned exclusively to one DMA. [More]

Designated Sample

Telephone numbers selected from the sample frame for a particular survey and determined by Nielsen Audio to be usable.


An individual to whom survey materials were sent

Diary Mentions

The number of different in-tab diaries in which a station received credit for at least one quarter-hour of listening.

Differential Survey Treatments (DST)

Special survey procedures used to increase participation rates of targeted demographic groups (e.g., Black, Hispanic, Males 18-~24, Males 25-34) which tend to be underrepresented in surveys.

Effective Radiated Power (ERP)

Effective Radiated Power is used in conjunction with HAAT and the FCC's 50/50 curve to determine an FM station's reach in miles/meters.

Effective Sample Base (ESB)

An estimate of the size of a simple random sample which would be required to produce the same degree of reliability (amount of sampling error) as the sample for a complex survey such as Nielsen Audio's.

Electronic Media Rating Council (EMRC)

An organization that accredits electronic media ratings services. The EMRC mandates and performs annual audits of the compliance of a service with certain minimum standards.

Ethnic Composition

Audience estimates for Total, Black and Hispanic Persons, expressed as Persons, Ratings and Black and Hispanic composition percents. Ethnic Composition estimates are based on total Metro in-tab diaries and are reported for the Metro of ethnic-controlled markets only if at least 30 Black and/or 30 Hispanic diaries, as appropriate, are in-tab for the Metro.

Ethnic Controls

The collective term for procedures designed to improve the representation of Black and Hispanic populations in Nielsen Audio surveys. These procedures include Black and Hispanic Differential Survey Treatments, Black and Hispanic weighting of the in-tab sample, High Density Black and Hispanic Areas, and bilingual (Spanish/English) survey materials for Hispanics.

Exclusive Cume Audience

The estimated number of Cume Persons who listened to only one station within a reported daypart. This estimate is shown only for the Metro in Nielsen Radio Market Reports.


An automated edit procedure that recredits illegal call letters to a set of legal call letters based on a series of sequential logical steps.

Follow-Up Contact

A contact made to consenting households after the initial placement contact. The purpose may be to remind respondents to complete and return their diaries, answer any questions about filling out diaries or thank respondents for cooperating with the survey.

Frequency (Station)

An AM or FM band designation assigned to a city service area and a licensee by the FCC or other regulatory authority.

Group Quarters Population

For Nielsen Audio sampling purposes, group quarters refers to living arrangements such as college dormitories, military barracks, nursing homes and prisons, plus dwelling units of 10 or more individuals. However, residents of college dorms, military housing, etc. are considered eligible to participate in the survey if the telephone number is assigned to a private telephone serving fewer than 10 individuals.

Height Above Average Terrain (HAAT)

Antenna Height Above Average Terrain is used in conjunction with ERP and the FCC's 50/50 curve to determine an FM station's reach in miles/ meters.

High-Density Area (HDA)

A zip code-defined area which may be established in a county or split county within the Metro of an ethnic-controlled market.

Home Station

Generally, any station licensed to a city located within a particular Nielsen radio Metro (or DMA). A station that is not licensed to a city within a Nielsen radio Metro may nevertheless be granted "home" status if it meets certain criteria.

In Tab

The number of usable diaries tabulated in producing a Radio Market Report.

Listed Sample

Sample telephone numbers for which names and mailable addresses are known prior to diary placement calling.

Listening Locations

Locations for which audience estimates are reported (At Home, In Car, At Work, Other).

Metro In-Tab/Target Index

The ratio of the number of Metro in-tab diaries to the Metro sample target, generally expressed as a whole number.

Metro Survey Area (Metro)

The primary reporting area for local radio. Metro Survey Area definitions generally correspond to the federal government's Metropolitan Areas, subject to exceptions dictated by historical industry usage and other marketing considerations as determined by Nielsen Audio. [More]

Metro Totals/DMA Totals

Total reported listening to radio in the Metro or DMA (could refer to AQH or Cume estimates). Includes listening to reported stations, non-qualifying commercial stations, noncommercial stations, cable-only stations and unidentified stations.

Minimum Reporting Standards (MRS)

Criteria used to determine which stations qualify to be listed in Nielsen Radio Market Reports.

Network Affiliation

A contractual agreement between a radio station and a network in which the station agrees to broadcast network commercials and/or network programming of various types (e.g., news, talk, sports, music). Nielsen Audio lists the network affiliations of reported stations on the "Station Information" page of the Radio Market Report if the network qualifies to be listed and if the station reports such affiliation to Nielsen Audio.

One Percent (1%) In Tab Criterion

A Nielsen radio procedure that establishes eligibility for listening credit where more than one station is listed for the same or similar Station Name, same network, same exact frequency, etc. A station meets the one-percent in-tab criterion if it was mentioned in at least one percent of the in-tab diaries from a given county during the previous available survey year. For crediting purposes, a "1% qualifying" station generally takes precedence over a "non-1%" station. Stations must meet the one-percent in-tab criterion in a particular county in order to be eligible for ascription.

Outside Station

A station which is not "home" to a particular Metro and/or DMA.

Persons Per Diary Value (PPDV)

The numerical value assigned to each in-tab diary for the purpose of projecting audience estimates to the entire 12+ population in a market The PPDV reflects the number of persons 12+ in the reporting area represented by each in-tab diary after sample balancing has been performed.

Prealerted Survey

A survey in which respondents are notified of their selection for the survey in advance of the actual data collection. This prenotification to the sampled person or household is usually made by telephone or mail contact It has been shown to increase both response and data quality relative to similar surveys having no prenotification of respondents.


A token cash amount mailed with each diary and with the follow-up letter to encourage diarykeepers to participate in the survey and to return their diaries to Nielsen Audio. Premium amounts may vary.


The basic unit, or smallest time period, for which listening is credited. Generally, stations receive credit for a quarter-hour of listening if the diarykeeper reported five or more minutes of listening to the station during a quarter-hour.

Radio Market Report (RMR)

A syndicated Report for a designated market; also known as SRMR (Standard Radio Market Report) or CRMR (Condensed Radio Market Report).


The estimated percentage of the demographic population listening to a given station or to total radio during a specified time period.

Reach (Station)

The total counties in which Nielsen Audio has determined that a specific radio station should be eligible for diary credit. This area includes counties within the station's signal penetration and may include additional counties if diarykeepers residing in those counties historically report listening to that station (typically due to commuting and travel patterns).


The extent to which a sample result reproduces the same result that would be obtained by attempting a complete census using the same methodological standards and data collection procedures as was used with the sample. The degree of the reliability of estimates based on probability samples is usually expressed in terms of standard error, or the error around the estimate. All things being equal, the smaller the standard error the more reliable the estimate.


Sampled persons who provide information in response to survey questions.

Response Rate

The proportion of originally designated sample persons who provide usable data for the survey. Response rates are determined by dividing the total number of in-tab (usable) diaries by the total estimated Persons 12 in the designated sample. Typically, the result is expressed as a percentage.

Sample Frame

The universe from which potential respondent households are randomly selected. The sample frame for Nielsen radio surveys is designed to include households with telephones.

Sample Identification Number

A unique 12-digit number assigned to each diary.

Sample Target

The number of diaries that is the in-tab sample size objective for a particular survey area.

Sampling Unit

A geographic area consisting of a county, county equivalent or split county for which sample is separately ordered, selected and monitored.

Self Mailer

A document which may be sealed or closed, but does not require an envelope, to be mailed. The Nielsen radio diary is a self-mailer.


(See "Average Quarter-Hour Share.")


The simultaneous broadcast of one station's total uninterrupted broadcast flow, including commercials, by a second station, without any variation except if the two stations choose to separately but simultaneously identify their call letters, frequency, Station Name and/or city of license.

Split County

A portion of a county, consisting of one or more zip codes, which is recognized as a separate sampling unit for purposes of survey area definition or more discrete sample control.

Station Information Form

A computer-generated form that lists station information, including day power, night power (AM only), antenna height (FM only), frequency, sign-or/sign-off times, Station Name, network affiliation, format, one national sales representative (if any), and other information. Since simulcast times are not retained from survey to survey, space is provided for simulcast times (if any) to be filled in by the station each survey.

The Station Information Form is part of the Station Information Packet, which is mailed to all stations in surveyed markets prior to each quarterly survey period. The information on the Station Information Form is used to credit diary entries, and serves as a basis for computing and reporting audience estimates.

Station Information Packet (SIP)

A set of forms mailed by Nielsen Audio to radio stations approximately seven weeks prior to each survey. The Station Information Packet contains the Station Information Form, a Programming Schedule, and a Sports Programming Schedule.

Station Name

A station's most frequently used on-air identifier other than call letters or lone exact frequencies.

Target Demographics

Demographic groupings of multiple discrete demographics, (e.g., Men 18-34, Women 18-49, Persons 25-54) as opposed to discrete demographics, (e.g., Men 18-24, Women 25-34).

Technical Difficulty (TD)

Time period(s) of five or more consecutive minutes during the survey period in which a station listed in a Nielsen Radio Market Report notified Nielsen Audio in writing of reduced power, intermittent power, signal interference or times the station was off the air during the station's authorized broadcast day.

Time Spent Listening (TSL)

An estimate of the amount of time the average listener spent with a station (or total radio) during a particular daypart. This estimate, expressed in hours and minutes is shown only for the Metro in Nielsen Radio Market Reports.

Total Survey Area (TSA)

A geographic area that includes the Metro Survey Area and may include additional counties. [More]

Unidentified Listening (UUUU)

Listening reported in diaries that could not be credited to a specific station.

Universe (or Population)

The estimated total number of persons in a particular sex/age group and geographic area.

Unlisted Sample

Sample telephone numbers for which names and mailable addresses are not known prior to placement calling.

Unusable Diaries

Returned diaries determined by Nielsen Audio to be unusable according to established criteria.

Unusable Sample

Telephone numbers in the originally selected sample determined by Nielsen Audio to be ineligible for survey participation for a variety of reasons, including (1) disconnected telephone; (2) nonresidential listing; (3) those who volunteer they reside in group quarters; (4) those who reside in households of 10 or more persons age 12 and older; and (5) those who state that a member of the household is media affiliated (in accordance with Nielsen Audio's definition).