There’s a lot of language out there that is specific to broadcast media. What follows is a compilation of terms that been collected over the years. Please let us know if you want to suggest something new – or that something has become obsolete and should be removed.


an advertising pod positioned next to a particular TV or radio program. Also called commercial break positions.



a statement, usually notarized, accompanying station invoices which confirms that the commercial actually ran at the time stated on the invoice.



a station associated with a network by contract to broadcast the network’s programs.


Air Date

the first broadcast of a commercial; also refers to the exact date of a particular TV or radio program.



the diary used by household members in Nielsen’s local rating sample which records what stations and programs they viewed during a week’s time.



Nielsen’s device for electronically recording TV viewing in sample households. Has been replaced nationally by the People Meter, but still being used in selected markets.


Availability (“avails”)

unsold units of time available for broadcasters to sell to advertisers. Also refers to a station’s submission of programs and rating estimates for advertising planning and buying.


Average Quarter-Hour Rating

the audience estimate reported by Nielsen and Arbitron for television and radio. It provides the average number of persons or households who watched/listened for at least 5 minutes of the 15 minute segment being reported.


Bonus Spot

additional TV or radio spot provided to an advertiser at no charge to raise the overall audience delivery of the schedule.


Break Position

a broadcast commercial aired between two programs instead of in the middle of one program.


Broadcast Calendar

an industry-accepted calendar used mainly for accounting and billing purposes. Weeks run Monday-Sunday, and each month is four or five weeks long.


Cable TV

TV programming that is delivered by coaxial cable rather than over the air for the purposes of improved reception and delivery of additional program choices beyond the local stations.



a station’s agreement to carry a particular program.



a commercial inserted by the local station that covers the commercial airing at the same time on the network at the advertiser’s request. Useful for testing different copy in a limited geography.



one of the time segments into which the day is divided by broadcast media, determined by type of programming and who provides it (network or local).

Designated Market Area (DMA)

Nielsen’s term for geographical areas made up of exclusive counties based on which home market stations receive the predominant share of viewing.



an instrument for measuring viewing, listening or reading of media vehicles kept by people in a sample.


Drive Time

the dayparts used in radio to signify primary listening being done in cars. Generally considered to be Monday-Friday 6- 10 a.m. and 3-7 p.m. HUT-(Households Using Television) – a broadcast research term indicating the percent of homes with sets on during a specific time period.



station identification of its call letters and location, channel or frequency. Also refers to any commercial message less than ten seconds long.



a long (more than two minutes) commercial providing extensive product/service description and sales information.



chronological record of a station’s program and commercial exact air times.



two or more stations joined by a line to broadcast the same program from a few original studios simultaneously.


Network Affiliate

a television or radio station that designates a portion of its air time for network programs.


O & O Station

a station owned and operated by a network.



one time only, usually referring to a TV or radio special program.



audience data provided by Nielsen or Arbitron to metered market clients the day after the broadcast.


Pay Per View

a type of Pay TV where viewers are charged each time they watch the special event or movie being broadcast.


Pay TV

a TV system providing programs which are available only to the households who subscribe, usually transmitted via coaxial cable or telephone lines. Also called “premium channels” on cable, such is HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, Disney Channel, etc.


Persons Using Radio (PUR)

the percent of the area’s population listening to radio at a specific time.



back-to-back scheduling of two or more brand commercials of one advertiser in network or spot positions.



a sample of a proposed television series.



Nielsen’s weekly reports providing audience estimates for all network and syndicated programs.



the substitution of one advertiser’s local TV commercial by another advertiser paying a higher price for the spot, or by a different program of interest.


PVT/PUT (Persons Viewing or Using Television)

the percent of individuals viewing all television stations during a specific time period, indicating total viewing to TV in general, not to a specific program or station.



a scheduling technique where a brand’s commercial airs at approximately the same time on all three networks or on all stations in a given market.


R.O.S. (Run Of Schedule or Run Of Station)

a broadcast schedule, similar to R.O.P. where specific programs and air times have not been requested by the advertiser.



broadcast of the same program at the same time on both AM and FM radio stations. Can also refer to a radio station simultaneously broadcasting the audio portion of a TV program.



the amount of programming viewed within a market area to stations that are licensed to an adjacent market.



the amount of viewing to local stations outside the home market area.



a program scheduled at the same time each day, typically Monday-Friday.



an independent station whose signal is transmitted to many markets via a satellite.



the four 4-week periods when all TV markets are measured by Nielsen and Arbitron for station viewing and demographic information. Sweep months are February, May, July and November.


Syndicated Program

a program bought by a station or advertiser from an independent organization, not a network.


TAP (Total Audience Plan)

a radio schedule consisting of equal distribution of commercials across all major dayparts.



the ratio of a cumulative audience to the average audience for a given period of time. Indicates how loyal a given audience may be for specific stations or programs.



a term indicating that an advertiser has purchased advertising for the coming broadcast year in an early buying season, typically for the benefit of lower rates and CPM guarantees.