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Rich Tunkel Outlines His Top Priorities For Nielsen Audio.

Nielsen has promoted Rich Tunkel, a 24-year company vet, to the top position of the measurement giant’s audio division. In his new role as head of Nielsen Audio Client Services, Tunkel will oversee a division of 15 client service reps across the country, who handle everything from fielding questions from broadcasters about the latest ratings and sales opportunities to making sure they're getting value out of the data.

Among Tunkel’s direct reports are Senior VP/Sales Directors John Snyder, Laura Kutscher and Brendan Kane. He will not oversee Nielsen’s Customer Success Division, which has a separate reporting structure.

While not directly responsible for the rollout of new product enhancements, like the forthcoming mSurvey for diary markets, Tunkel is tasked with bringing the client perspective to Nielsen’s product group and data science team “to make sure the client's voice is heard internally and things are done with the client in mind.

“I look at this job as both outward facing and inward facing, to make sure that the needs of the radio industry are being met,” Tunkel tells Inside Radio.

Transforming The Diary Service

Following the deployment of wearable PPM devices in metered markets, Tunkel says “we've got a lot on the schedule for the diary markets to transform that service.” He spent the past year working with NAB’s COLRAM Committee and the Nielsen Audio Advisory Committee on those plans, which are expected to commence in early 2024. “We're going to make our diary service stronger,” he says.

At the top of his priority list is using Nielsen’s resources to help reduce the gap between radio’s share of consumption and its piece of the ad pie. “It doesn't get funded at the rate that it gets consumed and we need to make sure that marketers have audio and radio in their mind prominently,” he says.

To that end, Tunkel says he’ll strive to ensure radio’s story is told across Nielsen’s channels and communications and work with clients to derive new insights, including several studies currently on the launch pad for early 2024. “We will be working on both client-funded studies, as well as our everyday thought leadership work that we do with the audio insights.

“We're going to continue to beat the drum aggressively to make sure that marketers understand that they need to take advantage of this strong and resilient media that in many cases outreaches television for prime demos, as video’s reach is challenged and splintered,” he says.

Incoming: More Partnerships

A second priority for Tunkel and the audio team is forming additional partnerships to fill in capabilities that Nielsen doesn't natively have. This strategy came to bear this year when Nielsen partnered with Edison Research to market two Edison products to ad agencies: Share Of Ear and Podcast Metrics. Nielsen aims to strike up similar pacts in areas that aren’t part of its core competency, such as attribution and online streaming, that can strengthen its own existing services and bring more granularity to audio measurement. “If there's opportunities to partner, as we have done with Edison, we'll look at those partnerships to bring new capabilities,” says Tunkel.

Another top priority is preserving the robustness and longevity of its measurement service. For example, replacing paper diaries with a mobile equivalent in diary markets will potentially include new methodologies, such as an address-based sample frame, aimed at bringing better representation and helping bolster underrepresented demos.

After chairing NAB’s COLRAM Committee and the Nielsen Audio Advisory Committee this past year, Tunkel says he has a good grasp of the needs of Nielsen’s local and network clients and where the market needs to move. “The biggest cry that I hear from my clients is people need to understand this opportunity that radio is presenting. And the story is getting better, as video continues to fragment.”

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