Gale Metzger, beloved father and grandfather, and a titan of media research, formerly of Summit, New Jersey and Manchester, Vermont died at the age of 83 on March 16, 2020 in New Jersey. His desire in life was to provide for his family, to do work that was challenging and interesting, and to contribute to society. Throughout the industry, he was known for his humility, loyalty and integrity.
Gale’s 50-year career in business and media, from statistical research to broadcasting research technology, made him a close witness to U.S. media research history.
Gale was the retired co-founder and president of Statistical Research, Inc. (SRI), based in Westfield, New Jersey, which created and provided a number of important media and consumer research services, and played a key role in the development of Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing and Random Digit Dialing—both breakthroughs that enabled significant improvements in research quality. Other services included the audience ratings for national network radio (RADARÒ: Radio’s All Dimension Audience Research 1972-2001); studies and audits of television measurement systems, including the development—in collaboration with TV networks and advertisers—of a complete ratings service for the digital age (SMART); ongoing services to understand how and why consumers use media; and many sponsored studies related to media usage and advertising.
In 1979, Gale provided detailed testimony before the U.S. Senate regarding the erroneous commercial credit reporting practices of Dun & Bradstreet. He testified again before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Technology concerning proposed legislation, the FAIR Ratings Act of 2005. Gale served as Chairman of the ARF Board of Directors, as well as Chairman of its Research Quality Council. He was a former president of the Market Research Council (1988-1989) and Radio and Television Research Council. Gale acted as a chief consultant to the industry’s Committee On National Television Audience Measurement (CONTAM), an organization born out of the U.S. Congressional Harris Committee investigation into the Nielsen system. He also served as a consultant to GfK/Knowledge Networks, SRI, and others. In his retirement, he served on the Board of Trustees at the Overlook Hospital Foundation in Summit, New Jersey.
Born in Dayton, Ohio, Gale received his BA in Econometrics from Northwestern University and was the first in his family to receive a college degree. He began his career in media and broadcast research at Nielsen in 1958.
“Gale was a visionary who sought to build audience measurement systems that anticipated the world as it has evolved. He was a man of consummate integrity committed to research quality,” said Neil Braun, former president NBC Television Network, now dean, Lubin Business School, Pace University.
Throughout his lifetime, Gale was often honored for his illustrious work. He received the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Research Award, the NAB Hugh Malcolm Belville Award, the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) Lifetime Achievement Award and was inducted into The Market Research Council Hall of Fame in 2000.
Gale was pre-deceased by his beloved wife of 49 years, Angela Serpe Metzger (1938-2006). He is survived by children Matt Metzger (Debbie Pupo), Cassandra Metzger, Beatrice Fagan (John Fagan), Eleanor Armstrong (Nick Armstrong), Olivia Metzger Penizotto; brother Gene Metzger (Barbara Metzger); grandchildren Isabelle, Lucas, Austin, Jack, Curtis, Drew, Margot, Sabrina and Ava; and his beloved and faithful dog, Leopold the Great (“Leo”).
In lieu of flowers, donations in Gale’s memory can be sent to Mobile Meals of Westfield and Nourish NJ, two charities who are on the front lines of delivering meals to the elderly during this extraordinary time in our nation’s history.
The Metzger family will hold a memorial at a future date. Notes to the family can be sent to c/o Beatrice Fagan, 6 Westminster Place, Morristown, N.J., 07960 or GaleMetzgerMemorial@gmail.com