FCC Asks For 'Comments' About PPM
September 5, 2008 at 5:39 AM (PT)
The FCC has responded to a filing by the PPMC by setting a SEPTEMBER 24th deadline for "Comments on the Emergency Petition" that claims the PPM ratings system could hurt minority broadcasters.
The Coalition claims PPM methodology undercounts minority radio listeners, and that the scheduled rollout of PPM starting OCTOBER 8th in eight markets will seriously harm minority broadcasting. It argued further that the Commission has "ample" jurisdiction to conduct this inquiry and to take action.
According to PPMC, a Section 403 inquiry is the only way the Commission can shed light on the methodological problems identified in early PPM markets.
The FCC posted on its website:
On SEPTEMBER 2, 2008, PPM Coalition (PPMC) filed an "Emergency Petition for Section 403 Inquiry." PPMC consists of NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BLACK OWNED BROADCASTERS, SPANISH RADIO ASSOCIATION, MINORITY MEDIA AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS COUNCIL, AMERICAN HISPANIC ADVERTISING ASSOCIATION, BORDER MEDIA PARTNERS, ENTRAVISION, ICBC BROADCAST HOLDINGS, SPANISH BROADCASTING SYSTEM, AND UNIVISION. PPMC asks the Commission to immediately open an inquiry, under Section 403 of the Communications Act, into ARBITRON’s use of PORTABLE PEOPLE METERS (PPM). PPMC notes that on JULY 28, 2008, the Commission’s Advisory Committee on Diversity recommended the same action that PPMC formally requests here. PPMC argues that PPM methodology undercounts minority radio listeners, that the rollout of PPM methodology starting OCTOBER 8, 2008 in eight markets (including the four largest radio markets) will seriously harm minority broadcasting and defeat the Commission’s diversity goals, and that the Commission has ample jurisdiction to conduct this inquiry and to take action. PPMC requests that the Commission undertake a fact-finding inquiry, using subpoenas for document production and conducting witness testimony under oath. PPMC also notes that appropriate protective orders could be crafted to avoid disclosure of financial information. According to PPMC, a Section 403 inquiry is the only way the Commission can shed light on the methodological problems identified in early PPM markets and avert harm to minority broadcasters from a rollout of PPM with a flawed methodology that undercounts minority audiences. PPMC Coalition, Emergency Petition for Section 403 Inquiry (SEPT. 2, 2008). We seek comment on PPMC’s petition.
Arbitron Doesn't Agree FCC Has Juristiction
ARBITRON told ALL ACCESS on WEDNESDAY (NET NEWS 9/3), that "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."
ARBITRON SVP/Press and Investor Relations THOM MOCARSKY added, "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."