Frequently Asked Questions

Where do you get the phone numbers?

We load your ComQuest system with 5,000 numbers from SSI (Survey Sampling International), the same company Arbitron uses to find diary keepers. You can specify zip codes, gender, demo and ethnicity.

After we have gone through those numbers, what do we do?

You can buy more names from SSI, MetroMail, Donnelley, etc. Or, we can generate random numbers in one of two ways: from previous completes or randomly, based on a list of prefixes you enter into the system. You can also import additional names/numbers from a frequent listener or other database sources.

How many completes can we expect to get each week?

You'll get about 80-100 completes a week with two interviewers each working four hours a night, four nights a week.

Can the interviewers fudge the results?

No! There are a number of ways to keep tabs on the interviewers and their productivity. Each call is date/time-stamped. Detailed interviewer and overall system incidence reports can be run for any period of time. Edit checks are built into the system so that you can monitor activity and easily identify cheaters.

How long do I have to wait for the results?

Results are immediate! As the interviewers have clicked off the respondent profile information during screening (stations cumed and preferred, demo, gender, ethnicity, etc.), and the respondent has entered their own scores for each song, you can literally run a report consisting of all scores you have the moment a respondent completes the test. NO DATA ENTRY = IMMEDIATE TEST RESULTS!

What happens if someone hangs up before finishing the test?

ComQuest keeps track of all this. In fact, interviewers have a banner across their screens that informs them when the participant drops off the line early, enabling them to make a quick call back, check on the problem and return the participant to where they left off. Otherwise, the system allows you to delete partial scores if you so choose and/or call the participant a week later to get them back into the test.

What are some of the advantages for the respondent of playing the song hooks off the fileserver?

In the old days, hooks were recorded onto cassette tapes. This meant all respondents heard all the hooks in the exact same order. With ComQuest, your song hooks stay in the order you've positioned them (so you can control flow and artist separation), and each respondent starts at a different point in the test list, creating true randomization of the song hook order (eliminating what is known in research circles as "order bias"). There is also no chance for interviewer bias when the computer is running the song testing portion of the call. Fidelity of the songs is consistent (loud and clear; it's digital!) for all respondents. Finally, respondents can move through the test at their own pace. Once they have decided on their scoring choice, they push that button on their touchtone phone, and move on to the next song. This reduces fatigue and increases the number of song hooks you can effectively test each week.

What if a respondent has a phone with the keypad in the handset, like a cell phone?

Most of the tests will be done with people on their home phones with a separate keypad. However, if you reach someone that doesn't have a separate keypad, you can use ComQuest’s version of the AT&T Watson Speech Recognition engine that lets respondents speak numerical answers for scoring each song.

Can I change the interviewer scripts?

Yes, you can customize the interviewer scripts to say anything you want. You can also embed the interviewer as well as the respondent's names in the scripts to further personalize dialogue.

What about scoring options? Can I change them?

Yes, scoring is defined by you and can be changed at any time. While most stations choose a scale of 1 to 5, with additional options to capture burn and unfamiliarity, you can use any pattern you desire. You can also "weigh" any of the positive or negative choices up or down as you see fit. For example, if "4" means "like a lot" and "5" means "favorite", you may want to count each "4" as 1.0, but count each "5" score as "1.2" or "1.5."

How many songs can I test?

You can test up to 40. The hooks can be any length. Only new hooks have to be recorded each week, as ComQuest stores a backup of all previously tested hooks on the hard drive. You never have to re-record a hook. And, adding and deleting hooks is easy with the ComQuest Music Library, which contains over 10,000 song hooks.

How many people can take the music test at the same time?

Up to four! This is the true efficiency of the ComQuest system. Two interviewers are feeding qualified participants to four (or more) phone lines on the fileserver for song testing. The interviewers are more productive than with manual callout, because they are spending their time only recruiting and screening qualified participants. They no longer have to "baby-sit" the respondent during the actual scoring of the song hooks.

Do respondents like this high-tech button pushing method of scoring songs?

Yes, we find they prefer it. We have sold several systems to stations after taking the ComQuest test with sample respondents. Respondents feel less intimidated and more open to express their true feelings with the computer. They are also less fatigued, because they can move through the test at their own pace. Songs they are sure of can be scored instantly. For those that require more thought, they can take extra time before scoring, or even hear the hook repeated up to three times!

How do the song scores track between ComQuest and other callout systems/companies?

First, you'll notice greater consistency, because the administration of each test is more constant (same song hook fidelity, elimination of interviewer bias, consistent recruiting methods, etc.). Next, you'll notice that negative scores on most songs are slightly higher with ComQuest. Why? Because respondents can be more honest without the presence of a live interviewer, especially in the hipper/stronger-peer-pressure formats (Alternative, Urban, CHR, etc.). While they might not confess not knowing or liking a song to a live interviewer, they'll definitely let you know with ComQuest IVR testing!

What if a respondent just pushes in a bunch of buttons at random, without listening to each song hook?

ComQuest keeps track of this too. The interval that each respondent took to score each song hook is captured; any songs that are scored in less than three seconds get written to a report, enabling you to spot a bogus score. With ComQuest, this is rarely an issue in the first place since each respondent has already been pre-screened, given scoring options and has agreed to take the test before being handed-off to the fileserver. Those who don’t want to participate generally tell you before agreeing to take the test.

How do I load the song hooks each week?

Your ComQuest system comes with a license for Cool Edit Pro. Using Cool Edit, you can easily load, record and edit all your song hooks and voice prompts on your ComQuest system.

What about tech support?

We're here to help. Unlimited technical support is included in the turnkey ComQuest package. Tech support is available Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. Interviewers can even page us from within the ComQuest program by clicking on "Page Technical Support."

How much does it cost?

There is a one-time start-up fee of $3,800. This includes all the hardware and everything you need to run the system. The start-up fee also includes a ComQuest Client Support Specialist’s travel to your station for installation and staff training. ComQuest is available exclusively through an annual license agreement. The single-station monthly fee varies, based on market size:

Market Size
Monthly Rate
One-time startup fee
2nd Radio Station/same market
3rd+ Radio Station(s)/ same market
Additional Workstations
Additional 4-Line IVR Card

The monthly software license fee includes all updates and enhancements, unlimited technical support and a service contract on the hardware.

What if I get ComQuest, but I don't like it?

We're sure you will, but sometimes things change (owners, formats, the industry, etc.) You can opt-out of your ComQuest agreement for any reason, with 90-days written notice prior to annual renewal. Or, we can convert you to NetQuest for the Internet.

When can we get started?

Once we have a signed contract and a check for the start-up fee from your station, we can confirm an installation date. Generally, it takes about 10 days to two weeks to configure your system, ship it to your station and schedule installation and training for your staff.

What happens if something breaks?

We repair or replace any defective hardware during the license period.

My station is in Europe/Asia/Africa etc. Can I get ComQuest?

Yes. We have stations in New Zealand and Europe that are using our systems. We can make ComQuest available anywhere.

Can I see a demo of ComQuest?

Call Garry Mitchell at 619-659-3600 (ext. 3) or email him: , and we'll send you our new Interactive CD-ROM. The demo offers:

  • A Guided Tour of the ComQuest system
  • Interactive Test-Drive that allows you to take the music test on your computer
  • Interactive Interviewer Tutorial
  • Sample Reports and Windows
  • The complete ComQuest User's Guide<
  • Getting Started Checklist and forms
ComQuest, LLC.