Minority Broadcasters Still Questioning PPM
October 9, 2007 at 5:23 AM (PT)
The PPM discussion makes it to the mainstream media again, this time in THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, as DAVID HINKLEY writes about minority-run station fears of the new system. He writes, the average radio listener doesn't care that ARBITRON, the main source of radio ratings, has launched a new system to compile those ratings.
But the "PORTABLE PEOPLE METER" (PPM) system already has changed what listeners hear - its expected impact is a key reason CBS RADIO switched WCBS-FM (101.1) from JACK to greatest hits -- and that train is likely to keep rolling.
...there were teething pains with PPM in Houston and Philadelphia...
One fear seeded in the first PPM markets, PHILADELPHIA and HOUSTON, is that black and minority stations' ratings could drop, reducing all-important ad revenues. City Council Speaker CHRISTINE QUINN cited the potential impact on minority radio recently when she asked ARBITRON to halt or delay the PPM system it started here last month. While that's considered unlikely, ARBITRON quickly agreed to meet with the City Council OCT. 16th.
"We are well aware of the crucial economic and political role that the media, including minority-owned radio stations, have played in NEW YORK," said a company statement, and spokesman THOM MOCARSKY says ARBITRON is "fully confident the Council's concerns will be addressed."
Veteran ad executive SANFORD MOORE, known as CHARLES W. ETHERIDGE III on WRKS (98.7 FM), is less confident. MOORE notes MADISON AVE. has always spent less money on black radio, proportionate to listenership, than it spends on "general-market" radio, and says he fears PPM "will be used as a tool to further decimate and marginalize Urban radio."
MOORE says that if ARBITRON doesn't halt PPM in NEW YORK, the Council should seek a court injunction. "What's at stake here," he says, "is our economic survival. ARBITRON doesn't measure listener involvement with a station," says MOORE. "And advertisers need to know that."
MOCARSKY acknowledges "there were teething pains" with PPM in HOUSTON and PHILADELPHIA, but says, "We're fully confident in the quality of our NEW YORK panel. It's always a challenge getting younger people to participate, but our ethnic representation is solid."
CBS RADIO also switched 92.3 FM from "FREE" back to "K-ROCK" in part because Rock stations do well with PPM. Other stations are working on strategies that will be rewarded under the PPM system.