FCC Drops Probe On PPM 'Diversity' As Arbitron Defends Itself
July 7, 2008 at 1:47 PM (PT)
The previously announced FCC probe into possible "diversity issues" with ARBITRON's PPM has been put on ice, after it was disclosed that the JULY 2nd conference call that led to the resolution violated the "openness" provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). The offenses were that the public -- and ARBITRON -- had no opportunity to participate in the 7/2 conference call that led to the resolution.
After reaction from some quarters indicted ARBITRON for doing something to quash the PPM probe, the ratings firm rebutted the charges by releasing the following statement:
Allegations of 'back door maneuvering' causing the resolution to be voided are an insult to the integrity of the FCC [and] Arbitron
Allegations raised in the trade press of 'back door maneuvering' causing the resolution to be voided are an insult to the integrity of the FCC, which is properly insisting on compliance with the law. Such allegations also are an insult to the integrity of ARBITRON, which has participated in countless numbers of forums to discuss the extraordinary efforts the company makes to properly represent the diversity of the radio audience in its listener surveys.
Over the past several months, ARBITRON has aggressively reached out to meet with many advocacy groups and has also hosted several FCC Commissioners at its COLUMBIA, MD Research and Technology Center to demonstrate how the PPM electronically produces objective, unbiased audience estimates.
ARBITRON is happy to continue its dialogue with the minority community and the FCC about the advantages the PPM brings to radio. Experience has shown that PPM ratings are more reliable than systems that rely on memory and are prone to human error and bias.
The PPM samples fully represent the diversity of the markets ARBITRON measures in terms of age, sex, race, ethnicity and language preference. Hispanics and African-Americans have the highest listening levels in the PPM system and ethnic broadcasters who have embraced PPM are succeeding with the timely and detailed data that only PPM can deliver.
Radio's future depends on electronic measurement to keep pace with similar systems used by other media.