David Tate (radio broadcaster)

David Tate, Radio Broadcaster

David Helene Tate (born 1952, Washington, D.C.) served as President/CEO of Rantel Research,[1] Inc. of Laurel, MD, a broadcast radio audience marketing company, from 1979-1997. Rantel's area of professional specialization was mostly in radio formats targeted at young-adult audiences as measured by Arbitron of Columbia, MD. While companies like Arbitron were focused primarily on measuring radio audience listening levels, or audience ratings, Rantel concentrated on measuring the underlying motivations of radio listeners, i.e., why a listener would prefer one radio station over another.

Before serving at Rantel, Tate worked as a journeyman on-the-air radio host (disc jockey) from roughly 1967-1973. Tate's first professional radio broadcast experience was as a volunteer broadcaster, as the afternoon on-air host at Christian-formatted WGTS-FM, Takoma Park, MD, from 1967-1970. Tate served under the tutelage of WGTS station manager, Joseph Spicer, Ph.D.

During the bulk of the period from the early 1970s until 1979, Tate served as a radio station program director for "popular music" radio stations, where his duties occasionally required him to serve on-the-air as well.


Rantel Research

In 1979, Tate co-founded Rantel Research, Inc., with partners Steven A. Smith (VP/Operations, later COO) and Charles E. Helene (VP/Statistics And Analysis). The name, "Rantel Research" stood for, "Radio and Television Research", although Rantel's business activities centered mostly in the radio broadcasting field. The Rantel company was not affiliated with the radio talk-show host, Al Rantel, of KABC-AM radio in Los Angeles, CA.

During its 17 year existence, the Rantel company focused on developing computer software and services for radio audience market research. During this time, Rantel created products and services for about 1100 broadcasters in the U.S., as well as in South Africa, Italy and Australia.

As the Rantel company slowly achieved prominence in radio during the 1980s, it probably became best known for its introduction of computer-assisted data collection and delivery systems, statistical analysis and audience-segmentation techniques, through its development of some of the earliest incarnations of PC-based software applications for the nascent field of radio audience research, during the 1980s and 1990s.

In the mid-1980s, Rantel developed the first Computer-assisted telephone interviewing systems for its own use and later licensed these systems to other industries, such as political polling organizations. In the mid-1990s, Rantel developed the first Microsoft Windows-based Computer-assisted personal interviewing systems for radio audience research and the first Windows-based audience research data delivery and analysis systems for radio broadcasting under the direction of lead programmer Kris Earl Phillips (also a former broadcaster).

In the late-1980s and 1990s, the company introduced software-based audience analysis techniques for radio broadcasters, by seeking to commercialize techniques derived from the field of Multivariate statistics; procedures like Cluster Analysis and Factor Analysis, which were drawn from academic experimentation and market research being performed for Fortune 500 firms, such as Procter & Gamble.

During the 1980s, the Arbitron Company was developing the Portable People Meter, or PPM, technology to replace its self-administered, seven-day radio diary method to collect radio listening data from Arbitron survey participants. The radio diary had been the most generally-accepted method of measuring radio listening since 1964. Rantel became an early evangelist for the new PPM method, because Rantel researchers had performed many audits of Arbitron radio diaries during its early years and were keenly aware of the weaknesses of the seven-day radio diary method.

In 1995, Tate, then CEO of Rantel Research, was selected by The Radio & Records (R&R) trade newspaper to help create the brand-name, survey sampling, data accumulation, processing and reporting of the Callout America national radio listening audience popularity survey of songs published in the Top 40 and Country & Western airplay charts of the R&R newspaper. Tate managed the publication of the first three months of the Callout America service directly from the Radio & Records editorial offices on Santa Monica Blvd. in Los Angeles, while the data collection for the service was being managed from Rantel's national telephone interviewing center in Maryland. This service is currently being continued by Bullseye Marketing Research, Inc., of Nashville, TN, as of January, 2011.

The relaxation of radio station ownership rules allowed by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 forced many suppliers to the radio industry to close operations, due to the resulting reduction of intramural competition between stations in radio markets throughout the U.S. and Rantel Research, which required a competitive radio marketplace for its products and services, was not immune to these market forces. Rantel closed its operations in January, 1997 and Tate retired from broadcasting.


Tate is a graduate of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, Bethesda, MD (1970) and studied Broadcasting at Columbia Union College (now Washington Adventist University), Takoma Park, MD (1967–1970).


David Tate is the grandnephew of Harold Theodore Tate, who served as Treasurer of the United States from 5/31/1928 through 1/17/1929. The Tate family in America derives from Scotch-Irish descent, beginning with the first direct ancestor, Lt. David Tate, who arrived in what would become the United States circa 1750, while in military service to the King of England, according to American historian and genealogist Penelope Johnson Allen. Allen published the history of the Tate family of Eastern Tennessee in The Chattanooga Times newspaper, in 1936.


  • Leaves from the Family Tree, by Penelope Johnson Allen, reprinted in The Chattanooga Sunday Times, December 6, 1936 (This article erroneously names Oscar Tate as Treasurer of the United States. Oscar was the brother of H. T. Tate. and the grand-uncle of radio broadcaster, David Tate).
  • Excerpts from History of Tennessee, The Goodspeed Publishing Co., Nashville, TN 1887.


  1. ^ Inc., Nielsen Business Media, (1996-10-26). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc.. pp. 84–. http://books.google.com/books?id=xwkEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA84. Retrieved 5 May 2011. 


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