Cooperative Analysis of Broadcasting, Inc., Reports, 1932-1946

Summary Information
Title: Cooperative Analysis of Broadcasting, Inc., Reports
Inclusive Dates: 1932-1946

  • Cooperative Analysis of Broadcasting, inc.
Call Number: U.S. Mss 140AF

Quantity: 6.0 c.f. (15 archives boxes)

Archival Locations:
Wisconsin Historical Society (Map)

Reports on radio listening by Crossley, inc., the market research firm founded by Archibald M. Crossley in 1930. Produced on a subscription basis for advertisers, the various types of reports, known as “Crossley Ratings,” concern network programming, advertising in selected cities, and audience composition and behavior.

Language: English

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The Cooperative Analysis of Broadcasting, Inc. (CAB) was the first widely accepted venture in radio measurement in the United States. It was launched in March of 1930. Archibald Maddock Crossley (1896-) founded the market research firm of Crossley, Inc. The reports that resulted, referred to as the Crossley Ratings, served an important function in influencing radio programming and advertising through the 1930's and into the 1940's.

Crossley's first steps in audience measurement came in 1927-1928 when representatives of Davis Banking Powder requested that his firm check on the reception of their program across the country. Through this experience Crossley developed the telephone “recall” sample for radio listening. By 1929 he was preparing a study entitled “The Advertiser Looks at Radio,” based upon thirty thousand interviews in forty-four cities, to attract advertising support for more frequent and long-term surveys. Subscribers were soon found; and, although the Association of National Advertisers would not take an active part in the venture, that organization did provide a sponsoring endorsement.

By 1934 the financial and selling aspects of the Crossley surveys were taken over by a new corporate unit composed of three advertiser and two agency members appointed by the Association of National Advertisers and the American Association of Advertising Agencies. Field and statistical work was continued by Crossley, Inc.; the newly incorporated venture retained the designation Cooperative Analysis of Broadcasting. This arrangement between Crossley and the advertisers continued until the summer of 1946 when the tripartite enterprise disbanded as a result of the greater financial support and interest being assumed by the networks. In an agreement with Crossley, the program rating service for CAB subscribers was taken over by C. E. Hooper, Inc., effective August 1, 1946.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists entirely of reports on radio audiences produced for subscribers by Crossley, Inc., from 1932-1946. The data concerning major network programming and advertising were gathered by telephone interviews in selected cities throughout the United States. There are eight sets of reports: program, use of sets, set-user program comparison, sponsor identification, audience composition, station audiences, program audiences, and city reports. the reports represented here are fairly complete for the years listed, but for each type of report there are variations in the amount of information provided and the manner of its collection within the inclusive dates.

The PROGRAM REPORTS are semimonthly for the years 1932-1946. They divide programs by length and/or frequency per week. Based upon a telephone sample, the reports list the percentage of the national audience that listened to a particular program for the two week period. In addition, each report includes program reports for the previous three reporting periods, and supplies daily rating variations for programs heard three to five times per week.

The ANALYSIS OF THE USE OF SETS were compiled three times a year, 1934-1945, and break down the national audience by such factors as season, region, day of the week, time of day, and income group. REPORTS ON STATION AUDIENCES, 1934-1942, are annual reports, usually covering the months of October to April, that assess the relative listener strength in thirty-three selected cities. These reports are divided by city, then by station and time of day, showing the percentage of sets tuned in and the number of listeners for each network-related station. Similar, though less detailed information is supplied by the bimonthly CITY REPORTS, 1945-1946.

Detailed analysis of program popularity is contained in the reports on RADIO PROGRAM AUDIENCES, 1936-1944, issued semiannually. They rank programs by their popularity within geographical areas, among various income groups, and by month of the year; they also indicate the popularity of programs relative to others of the same type. Each report has an extensive index listing programs, talent, and sponsors.

The SET-USER PROGRAM REPORTS, 1941-1944, are monthly and allow easy comparison of a given program listened to vis-a-vis a competing program on another network. In addition, they provide figures relating to the percentage of radio set owners on which each commercial has “made a conscious impression.” Monthly surveys, 1943-1946, of audience ability to match a given program to its sponsor are contained in the SPONSOR IDENTIFICATION REPORTS. Listener responses are tabulated under the following categories: correct, inadequate, incorrect, and don't know. Each monthly report contains a comparison with the two previous months.

The AUDIENCE COMPOSITION REPORTS, 1944-1946, are quarterly breakdowns, based on a typical month, of the national audience listening to particular programs. The figures include indications of the number of listeners per family, as well as their sex and age (over or under seventeen).

Administrative/Restriction Information
Acquisition Information

Presented by Archibald Crossley, Princeton, New Jersey, June 1964 and the National Broadcasting Company, New York City, November 1970. Accession Number: MCHC64-65 and MCHC70-119

Processing Information

Processed by Roy H. Tryon, February 1978.

Contents List
Program Reports (semimonthly)
Box   1
Folder   1-6
1932, March-February, 1935
Box   2
Folder   1-7
1935, March-November, 1936
Box   3
Folder   1-6
1936, December-May, 1938
Box   4
Folder   1-6
1938, June-November, 1939
Box   5
Folder   1-6
1939, December-May, 1941
Box   6
Folder   1-5
1941, June-August, 1942
Box   7
Folder   1-6
1942, September-February, 1944
Box   8
Folder   1-7
1944, February-February, 1945
Box   9
Folder   1-6
1945, March-February, 1946
Box   10
Folder   1-2
1946, March-July, 1946
Box   10
Folder   3-6
Analysis of the Use of Radio Sets (three times yearly) 1934, March-August, 1945
Box   11
Folder   1-3
Reports on Station Audiences (annual), 1934-1942
Reports on Program Audiences (semiannual)
Box   11
Folder   4-7
1936-September, 1939
Box   12
Folder   1-7
1939, October-April, 1944
Box   13
Folder   1
1944, May-December
Box   13
Folder   2-3
City Reports (bi monthly), 1945-1946
Set-User Program Reports (monthly)
Box   13
Folder   4-6
1941, January-August, 1942
Box   14
Folder   1-3
1942, September-February, 1944
Sponsor Identification Reports (monthly)
Box   14
Folder   4-6
1943, January-June, 1945
Box   15
Folder   1
1945, August-May, 1946
Box   15
Folder   2-3
Audience Composition Reports (quarterly), 1944, July-January, 1946