Don Imus ratings down. Don Imus ratings up.

Consumer shifts in media usage have every outlet scrambling to redefine how they are measured. Now, the measurement baloney over in print is starting to seep into radio.

Take Don Imus. Crain’s NY Biz reports that the WABC-AM Imus In the Morning show has a 1.5 audience share among adults 25-54, down 17% from last year. At first glance, this is bad news for the once-Nappy morning jock, putting Imus into 18th place. Boomer & Carton, a new show on WFAN, has surged ahead to 5th place.

But among adults 35-64, Imus’ share is 3.1 and up 24% over last year. And a VP for WABC’s parent claims new Portable People Meters — hard-wired survey devices that replace today’s current paper diary surveys and pick up inaudible signals from the radio to measure every second of listening — show Imus also beats WFAN in the A25-54 category.

So whom do you believe? Well, no one. Media planning requires forecasting, and such ratings can give you direction on which outlets to build into the plan. But the only way to measure results is to measure results; use 800 tracking numbers or unique URLs or calls to action on the radio that push the consumer to Google trackable keywords.

With all the ruckus on the radio, you need more than forecasts; you need measurement.

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