Classical radio fan mines playlist data to see if local station overplaying "plinky" harpsicord

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Issue Date: 
Aug 31 2012 - 12:05pm

From Issue:

Classical radio data miningKING FM (Seattle 98.1) listener Evan Muehlhausen doesn't care for harpsicords. But "over the past few years, I've noticed that when I tune to the station, I always seem to hear the plinky sound of a harpsicord," he writes. He was going to complain to the station, but before he did,  he "wanted to investigate whether my ears were deceiving me."

Muehlhausen collected and analyzed 30 days of playlist data (around 3,000 "playlist items") posted online by KING FM, assigning composer era information to the songs played. The result? "The data shows that KINGFM is innocent of the charge of favoring Baroque music [harpiscord's "heyday"] over other eras. Indeed, they play less Baroque than anything else... Looks like my own bias against harpsicord has affected my statistical judgment. Good thing I actually checked before blaming the station." 

So the next time a listener calls to complain, why not point them to Muehlhausen's blog post here? He helpfully explains in detail how he collected and analyzed the playlist data. Surely, any radio listener who cares enough to call or write would go through the same trouble Muehlhausen did.


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