NABOB Joins Spanish Broadcasters Petitioning Against PPM, Arbitron Responds Again
September 3, 2008 at 4:01 PM (PT)
The heat is on in the ongoing battle between groups representing minority broadcasters and ARBITRON, regarding PPM's affect on Black and Spanish-formatted stations.
NABOB Executive Dir./General Counsel JIM WINSTON announced that NABOB has joined with the SPANISH RADIO ASSOCIATION (NET NEWS 8/21), the MINORITY MEDIA TELECOMMUNICATIONS COUNCIL and several other companies and organizations, in filing a petition requesting that the FCC investigate ARBITRON’s PERSONAL PEOPLE METER audience measurement system.
In the petition, NABOB and the other petitioners claim that the current PPM methodology undercounts and misrepresents the number of minority radio listeners. The petitioners state that, unless the Commission acts now, implementation of the PPM methodology in four of the largest radio markets in the country: NEW YORK, LOS ANGELES, CHICAGO and SAN FRANCISCO, could undermine the financial viability of minority-owned radio stations in these and other markets.
NABOB Claims PPM Hurts Minority Broadcasters
WINSTON stated, "NABOB has been meeting with ARBITRON for almost two years seeking improvement in ARBITRON’s PPM system. From the beginning NABOB has advised ARBITRON that its PPM methodology showed deficiencies in the recruitment, retention and participation of the sample panel, and these deficiencies have resulted in a significant under representation of young African-Americans in the PPM results. In addition, NABOB has objected to PPM’s attribution of sporadic listening and the failure to have a metric that reflects listener engagement."
WINSTON continued, "During this two-year period, we have seen PPM denied accreditation in NEW YORK and PHILADELPHIA, which confirms the issues NABOB has been raising about PPM. Yet, ARBITRON proposes to replace its accredited diary service with the PPM service that has been denied accreditation. In response to our concerns we have received only vague assurances from ARBITRON that PPM will be perfected by 2010. We can’t wait that long for ARBITRON to get it right. If they don’t fix PPM now, some of our member stations may not be in business in 2010."
WINSTON concluded, "NABOB, like the rest of the radio industry, wants an electronic rating service. However, we need a service that measures our actual audience and provides reliable and credible information. At this point, government intervention is necessary to stop the rollout of PPM until ARBITRON gets it right."
Arbitron Disagrees, Responds
ARBITRON SVP/Press and Investor Relations THOM MOCARSKY responded in writing, "TODAY’s press releases from AHAA and NABOB simply reiterate what their organizations have said before. In doing so, they are neglecting to acknowledge:
* the commitment that ARBITRON has made to continued dialogue with Urban and Hispanic broadcasters and agencies;
* the superiority of the PPM over the paper and pencil diary as a survey tool;
* the significant improvements that we’ve delivered in the quality of our PPM samples in terms of African-American, Hispanic and Spanish-Dominant representation;
* the outreach we are making to the advertisers who target African-American and Hispanic consumers.
ARBITRON does not believe that the FCC has jurisdiction over the Company or its operations and assets and consequently lacks the authority to commence a Section 403 investigation. Nevertheless, we are committed to continue our voluntary meetings with the FCC.
Our PPM samples are designed to effectively represent the diversity of the African-American and Spanish-language radio marketplace and of all the markets we measure in terms of age, sex, race, ethnicity and Spanish-language preference.
The PPM is a more reliable survey instrument than the paper and pencil diary, which relies heavily on memory and recall.
ARBITRON’s role as an independent research company is to provide stations and advertisers with information that is based on the actual behavior of radio audiences. That is what PPM delivers TODAY."
ARBITRON previously addressed many of these same issues to Spanish Broadcasters (NET NEWS 8/21).