Do Long Stop Sets Hurt or Help Retain Listeners?

If you are running commercials on your radio station, a big question could be how should I schedule them? In the 60s and 70s commercials were run frequently in between songs. WABC in New York City would play a song, talk run a commercial or two play another song or two and then another commercial. It didn't seem to affect the audience since at the time WABC held 25% of the entire radio audience in the New York metropolitan area.

Today's trend is very annoying in my opinion. Many stations schedule commercials near the top of the hour BUT then will play ten in a row!! I can't see how this isn't an audience turn off!

Edgewater Gold Radio has to run national commercials. I would rather run the commercials twice per hour rather than schedule them all at once.

Here's an interesting observation. I added a short 2 minute segment called "a moment in time" running a few times a day. The short program was included in the first stop set. Making the stop set about five minutes. When this stop set ran, about 20% of my audience dropped off. On a music station, you have to keep the music flowing. The audience will tolerate about 2 minutes of commercials or interruptions but watch out because they will start to drop off after that! Needless to say, I removed this short segment from my programming.

So does 10 minutes of commercials help or hurt? My gut feeling is that it hurts so try not to do this!!