Developing Radio Ratings

From 1942 to 1964, the A.C. Nielsen Company was a primary provider of U.S. radio ratings. The company pioneered the commercial use of mechanical and then electronic meter devices to automatically record which stations listeners were tuning their receivers to.


Arthur C. Nielsen (1897–1980) founded his marketing company in 1923 after serving briefly as a naval officer in World War I and working with two Chicago companies. With six employees and $45,000 in capital from Nielsen's former fraternity brothers, the company specialized in performance surveys of industrial equipment. The company went bankrupt twice in its early years. A decade later, Nielsen expanded his service by launching a continuous ...

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