Gary Burns Takes His Displeasure With Arbitron To The FCC, FTC And DOJ
August 13, 2013 at 4:00 AM (PT)
When ARBITRON updated its policy for single-line simulcast reporting, limiting Total Line Reporting only to subscribers (NET NEWS 8/1), the move unsettled some broadcasters. The change is planned for 2014; presently, stations simulcasting 100% of their programming and commercials are eligible for the combined reporting regardless of subscriber status.
That new policy didn't sit well with 3 DAUGHTERS MEDIA CEO GARY BURNS, who spoke out against the move (NET NEWS 8/2)
Now, BURNS has escalated his feelings, writing to both ARBITRON CEO SEAN CREAMER and filing his displeasure with the FCC, FTC and DOJ.
In his note to CREAMER, BURNS wrote, "I take strong exception to the recently announced change in policy by ARBITRON as it pertains to Total Line Reporting of listening, which as of 2014, will only apply to stations that pay for and subscribe to the ARBITRON service. Application of the proposed rule will result in different methodology for stations in the same survey and will change the ranking of stations. Stations most likely to incur damages as a result of this new policy are stations with limited coverage, stations owned by small business and minorities. Measurement of radio listening in metro markets should be subject to the same methodology and rules for every station qualified to be in the measured market."
BURNS also filed a formal complain with federal officials, writing "I take strong exception to the recently announced change in policy by ARBITRON as it pertains to Total Line Reporting of radio listening, which as of 2014, will only apply to stations that pay for and subscribe to the ARBITRON service. Application of the proposed rule will result in different methodology for stations in the same survey and will change the ranking of stations. Stations most likely to incur damages as a result of this new policy are stations with limited coverage, and stations owned by small business and minorities. Measurement of radio listening in metro markets should be subject to the same methodology and rules for every station qualified to be in the measured market."
BURNS continues, "When the FCC designated ARBITRON as the 'definer' of radio markets for the purpose of determining how many stations an individual station owner could operate in a given radio market it put too much power in the hands of the rating company and subsequently to the stations that subscribe to the ARBITRON service. ARBITRON subscribers alone decide which counties are included in the market’s definition. A good case in point is the market where I operate radio stations, ROANOKE-LYNCHBURG. ROANOKE and LYNCHBURG are separate SMSA’s as defined by the government. The city’s are 60 miles apart, separated by the BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS, are in different telephone area codes, are served by different daily newspapers, have over the air network affiliated television stations that are licensed to each city, have more than ten (10) radio stations licensed to each city and they share no government services or elected officials except for one gerrymandered congressional district , two Senators and the common shared benefits of both being in the COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA.
"Of the ARBITRON subscribers In ROANOKE LYNCHBURG, Total Line Reporting affects WHEELER and WVBE on three stations and a translator, WFIR on one station and a translator, CLEAR CHANNEL, WSFF on two stations and WJJS FM on two stations. Non subscribers in the affected market are 3 DAUGHTERS MEDIA WGMN on three stations and a translator, LYNCHBURG RADIO GROUP WZZU on two stations, and WKHF on two stations. Because of the market definition. Class A FM and AM stations licensed to ROANOKE or LYNCHBURG cannot cover the entire market.
"The ARBITRON COMPANY and the NIELSEN COMPANY have announced a merger pending regulatory approval. Big is about to become massive. Arbitrary policies set by these companies can and will have unintended consequences in the marketplace. The new policy in radio for Total Line Reporting is just one example.
"I am formally requesting that the FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION revisit their policy of using ARBITRON defined markets vs. Census Bureau SMSA designations, outsourced to BIA, as the way to define how many radio stations are in a market for the purposes of ownership limits. Especially considering that subscribing stations and not a regulatory agency get to decide the definition of the market.
"I am formally requesting that the DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE and the FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION require that all measured entities be treated equally without regard to weather a measured entity is a paid subscriber to the service and all of the other ramifications of this merger before allowing it to close."
ALL ACCESS contacted ARBITRON, which had no comment at this time.
MORE ABOUT: license | net news | smsa | fcc | wfir | phone | wheeler | wsff | wjjs | bia | doj | ftc | wkhf | wvbe | all access | federal trade commission | department of justice | commonwealth of virginia | arbitron ceo sean creamer | daughters media ceo gary burns | lynchburg radio group wzzu | daughters media wgmn | blue ridge mountains | nielsen company | clear channel | arbitron company | roanoke lynchburg | lynchburg. roanoke | federal communications commission | insurance | cell phones | travel