Senators Press Arbitron To 'Voluntarily' Reconsider October PPM Launch
September 19, 2008 at 4:08 PM (PT)
Senators DANIEL INOUYE (D-HI) and PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT) continued to put heat on ARBITRON by sending Pres./CEO STEVE MORRIS a letter to express their concern about the veracity of PPM data as the service is set to launch in eight major markets. Their basic plan of attack: They want ARBITRON to adhere to a MRC "Voluntary Code" that would prevent it from dropping the MRC-accredited diary for the as-yet-unaccredited PPM.
"As you know, the MRC's Voluntary Code of Conduct discourages ratings companies from discontinuing use of an accredited ratings method, such as ARBITRON's diary service, until a replacement is accredited," they wrote. "... please provide us with an explanation of your decision to use a different methodology in HOUSTON than in other markets in which ARBITRON intends to roll-out PPMs ... We encourage you to take all steps available, prior to rolling out the PPM system in additional markets, to ensure that the system accurately measures the listening behavior in a market and no station is unfairly harmed."
... Take all steps available, prior to rolling out the PPM system in additional markets, to ensure that the system accurately measures the listening behavior in a market and no station is unfairly harmed
After citing the complaints by minority radio interests, as well as current and potential probes by two state attorney generals and the FCC, they noted, "It is vital that the use of any new survey methodology be accurate and fair prior to commercialization ... If the methodology used in the unaccredited markets is underreporting listenership in certain Urban or Hispanic-oriented programming, thereby distorting the market, it will harm the important broadcast policy of diversity. We strongly encourage you to continue working with the MRC toward accreditation in all markets."
Of course, ARBITRON has never stopped its efforts to receive MRC accreditation, and are continuing to work with the research council.