Manhattan Accuses Arbitron, Morris Comm. Of Unfair Metro Revisions
January 3, 2008 at 2:52 PM (PT)
KANSAS-based MANHATTAN BROADCASTING has filed a complaint with the FCC. requesting "immediate relief from anti-competitive and unfair practices" by ARBITRON and MORRIS COMMUNICATIONS, asserting the two have "conspired to create a new, gerrymandered, ARBITRON 'Metro' market joining the two separate Micropolitan statistical areas of SALINA and MANHATTAN ... despite the two being separated by nearly 70 miles."
MANHATTAN BROADCASTING runs KMAN-A, KMKF and KXBZ in MANHATTAN, KS and KACZ in RILEY, KS. while MORRIS COMMUNICATIONS owns eight stations in ABILENE, SALINA, WEST FORT RILEY and TOPEKA, KS.
The complaint asserts that this new metro was created at the behest of MORRIS COMMUNICATIONS, which pledged to pay $250,000 to ARBITRON over five years to "artificially enhance MORRIS COMMUNICATIONS' market share in attempt to 'cream skim national and regional advertising dollars' to the detriment of all other radio stations and the people they serve within the proposed metro." What's more, MORRIS and ARBITRON "deliberately and arbitrarily ignored established listening patterns in creating the new market and instituted the change without the consent of, or even notification to, any of the other affected radio stations in the area."
MANHATTAN demands that ARBITRON "suspend the roll-out" of the new Metro "for the indefinite future," and in absence of that, the FCC should order MORRIS and ARBITRON to "withdraw the agreement that ARBITRON adopt the S-M Metro" and not "publish or otherwise use any radio audience measurements based on the S-M Metro designation so that the status quo is maintained."
ARBITRON has been contacted for comment..