Arbitron Cites WCMC For 'Ratings Bias' In Liners
August 8, 2008 at 2:17 PM (PT)
ARBITRON has tagged CAPITOL BROADCASTING Sports WCMC (THE FAN)/RALEIGH-DURHAM for ratings bias during the SPRING 2008 survey. Liners aired during that time urged listeners to remember how long they've been listening to the station and mention ARBITRON by name.
In one such promotional announcement, the announcer read: "I'm [personality name], reminding you to remember the time you spent listening to [program name] from [program’s starting time] to [program’s ending time] on The New 99.9 FM THE FAN."
Another promotional announcement went like this: "Thanks, sports fans, for making us the Triangle’s number-one sports radio station, with your ARBITRON 2008 12+ full-week Cume. Keep listening to The New 99.9 FM The Fan."
In a statement, ARBITRON SVP/Press and Investor Relations THOM MOCARSKY said:
"We are concerned about any station activity that may differentially prompt diarykeepers to report listening to a particular station, relative to reporting listening to other stations.
WCMC-FM’s announcements combine an explicit instruction to remember listening times, accompanied by references to the hours during which the programs air. These instructions, in combination, may differentially prompt ARBITRON diarykeepers to note the hours during which they previously listened to WCMC-FM’s programs, relative to other stations’ listeners.
"In addition, WCMC-FM’s SPRING 2008 announcements include an explicit reference to ARBITRON and prior ratings success. While such references, by themselves, are generally not treated as Rating Bias, the combination of references to ARBITRON, ratings success, remembering prior listening times, and extended broadcast intervals may prompt diarykeepers to attempt to reconstruct their prior listening, using the programs’ broadcast hours as a guide. This may prompt diarykeepers to misreport WCMC-FM listening.
"As in the case of other such activities, ARBITRON does not attempt to determine the extent of any possible bias or distortion. Our actions in this matter are intended to alert users of this report to activities that have been conducted in their market. ARBITRON continues to discourage all stations from conducting activities that may have the potential to bias survey participants or distort survey results."