New PPM Ratings Do A Number On Urban Radio In N.Y.; NABOB Responds
November 8, 2007 at 12:16 PM (PT)
NEW YORK radio got the first look at its new ARBITRON PPM ratings system WEDNESDAY, creating smiles at mainstream Pop and Rock stations and causing at least one Urban station to say it reads like a death warrant, writes DAVID HINKLEY in NEW YORK's DAILY NEWS.
"These numbers could put us out of business," said ICBC Urban WBLS PD VINNY BROWN. "And it's not just us. Listeners need to know this could threaten the future of black and Hispanic radio across the board."
EMMIS Urban WRKS and WBLS both fell sharply, as did EMMIS Top 40/Rhythmic WQHT (HOT 97.1), UNIVISION's Spanish WCAA, Spanish Talk WADO-A and SBS Spanish WPAT -- reviving fears the new system undercounts Black and Hispanic listeners.
We're the same station ... what happened?
Under the previous diary system, WBLS was #1 among listeners 25-54, averaging 5.2% of the audience. In the first PPM ratings, WBLS was #12, averaging 3%.
WBLS' afternoon WENDY WILLIAMS show, BROWN noted, fell from #1 out of the Top 10. "We're the same station," said BROWN. "What happened?"
"We have some concerns," said WSKQ and WPAT GM FRANK FLORES. "I'm a big believer in a more accurate count, but I don't know that we're there yet."
"In 65 years in radio," said ICBC VP HAL JACKSON, "I've never seen anything like this."
NABOB Weighs In
The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BLACK OWNED BROADCASTERS Executive Dir./General Counsel JIM WINSTON said, “The NEW YORK CITY results were even worse for Urban and Hispanic radio than the PHILADELPHIA and HOUSTON numbers. The NEW YORK PPM numbers showed a substantial loss of audience for all stations, but the loss for the Urban and Hispanic formatted stations was far worse than for the market as a whole.”
Winston added, “NABOB has been meeting with ARBITRON for months, and several of our members have been meeting with them for years, urging them to improve their PPM methodology. The NEW YORK results demonstrate that the limited changes that ARBITRON claims to have implemented have done no good. In light of these highly questionable results, ARBITRON should agree that further testing is needed in NEW YORK. Instead, ARBITRON has cavalierly disregarded all requests to delay the NEW YORK rollout date, even though ARBITRON is well aware of the negative impact a premature rollout could have on Urban formatted, Hispanic formatted and minority owned stations.”
WINSTON summed up, “The drastic declines in audience for the NEW YORK Urban and Hispanic stations cannot be attributed to the alleged superiority of the PPM methodology over the diary methodology. Declines this substantial raise serious issues about who and what is actually being measured and how the PPM methodology manipulates that data. Given ARBITRON’s virtual monopoly, ARBITRON is able to dictate tremendous fee increases, which it knows the stations must pay because there is no other ratings alternative. Therefore, Urban formatted, Hispanic formatted and minority owned stations -- formats and stations that have been the most negatively impacted by PPM to date -- are forced to pay increased fees for a service they know produces results that will likely be to their financial detriment.”