The C. E. Hooper Company was an American company which measured radio and television ratings during the "Golden Age" of radio. Founded in 1934 by Claude E. Hooper (1898-1954), the company provided information on the most popular radio shows of the era.

Claude E. Hooper became well known for his radio audience measurement systems, Hooper Ratings or "Hooperatings".[1][2] Before beginning work in radio measurement, Hooper was an auditor of magazine circulation.[3] Hooper worked within the market research organization of Daniel Starch until 1934 when he left to start a research company with colleague Montgomery Clark, Clark-Hooper; in the fall of 1934 the company launched syndicated radio measurement services in 16 cities.[1] Clark left the business in 1938 and Hooper continued the firm as C. E. Hooper, Inc.[1][4]

The survey method employed by Hooper was designed with the help of George Gallup (see Gallup Poll), whose input Hooper later acknowledged as key.[1] It differed from the method being used by the advertising industry service, the Cooperative Analysis of Broadcasting (CAB); in particular, Clark-Hooper's method involved contacting listeners during the shows being analyzed as opposed to the following day.[1] In the industry, the method was dubbed "telephone coincidence"; it superseded CAB's earlier method ("telephone recall") as the industry standard, and Hooper's prevalence eventually led to the 1946 dissolution of CAB.[5][6]

In 1948, as the radio networks began venturing into television, Hooper began measuring TV ratings as well. In February 1950, the company was bought by competitor A.C. Nielsen.[1][7]

In popular cultureEdit

During the late 1940s the catchphrase "How's your Hooper?" was a well-known allusion to the size of a series' audience.[4]

In 1949, the Chagrin Valley Little Theater premiered a satire of contemporary radio by Everett Rhodes Castle titled "How's Your Hooper?".[8]

A George Price cartoon in the May 14, 1949 issue of the New Yorker depicts a speeding automobile with a radio antenna being overtaken by a Hooper employee in the sidecar of a motorcycle who is shouting "We're from the Hooper Survey, sir. Do you have your radio on, and if so what program are you listening to?"

A 1947 radio skit has Henry Morgan and Arnold Stang sarcastically discussing each other's radio shows. Morgan says " . . . by the way, how's your Hooper rating?", to which Stang replies "Wells, it's, that rating doesn't mean a thing...".[9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f Webster, James; Phalen, Patricia & Lichty, Lawrence (2013). Ratings Analysis: Audience Measurement and Analytics. Routledge. pp. 22–25. ISBN 978-1-136-28213-3.
  2. ^ Blanchard, Margaret A. (2013). History of the Mass Media in the United States: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. pp. 49–50. ISBN 978-1-135-91742-5.
  3. ^ Bird, William (July 1987). "Audience Ratings: Radio, Television, Cable". Technology and Culture. 28 (3): 705.
  4. ^ a b Cox, Jim (2008). Sold on Radio: Advertisers in the Golden Age of Broadcasting. McFarland. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-7864-5176-0.
  5. ^ Midgley, Ned (2008). The Advertising and Business Side of Radio. Wildside Press LLC. pp. 164–168. ISBN 978-1-4344-7176-5.
  6. ^ Fordan, Robert C. (1998). Godfrey, Donald G.; Leigh, Frederic A. (eds.). Historical Dictionary of American Radio. Greenwood. p. 109. ISBN 978-0-313-29636-9.
  7. ^ Los Angeles Times, 7 March 1950. Part 2, Page 1
  8. ^ Cleveland Plain Dealer, Sunday 13 November 1949, section D, page 29
  9. ^ Transcribed in Thrilling Days of Yesteryear Archives blog

External linksEdit