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Traditional Radio: Arbitron Legal Settlement and Media Ratings Council Accreditation

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The Arbitron ratings service and traditional radio have recently made strides towards correcting some of the Portable People Meter (PPM) issues as its debut continues.

Arbitron Legal Settlements

Arbitron agreed to settlements with the states of New York and New Jersey. Both agreements included cash, adjustments in panelist selection recruitment, increases in cell phone-only household selection, and promises of increased efforts for accurate measurement radio measurement.

In regards to New York, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo reserved the right to rescind the order and reinstate the civil action, if Arbitron does not get accreditation by October 15th of this year. By July 2010, 15 percent of New York City panels will be chosen by the same address based on the door-to-door method used in Houston.

Other assurances include increased sample targets for cell phone-only households, and an increase in reaching sample targets. An interesting catch, a study will be completed by July 15th in the city of New York to determine non-response measurable bias. If problems are indicated, Arbitron has obligated itself to find answers within six months.

Highlights of New Jersey’s agreement included doubling the number of cell phone-only households sampled, and a certain percentage of panelists will be recruited using the Houston address-based door-to-door method. Philadelphia will also benefit from the agreement because a significant portion of their market encompasses southern New Jersey.

Media Ratings Council Awards Accreditation

Arbitron’s guinea pig markets for testing PPMs have been Philadelphia and Houston. The latter was the only city accredited by the Media Ratings Council (MRC) until the recent accreditation given to the Riverside-San Bernardino market. Many credit the Houston nod to the recruitment process combining telephone solicitation with person-to-person, door-to-door canvassing. With the exception of Philadelphia, Houston, and New York, telephone recruitment, referred to as “Radio First“, is used to select panels in all other PPM radio markets. About one third of panelists in Houston are recruited by the addressed-based, person-to-person, door-to-door method.

In My Opinion

Now that Arbitron has agreed to adjustments for the panel selection process in New Jersey and New York, other PPM markets will probably expect equal treatment. The theory among some pundits is that the combination of phone solicitation and addressed-based recruitment will aid minority participation. No doubt tweaking the PPM system will periodically occur as it makes its appearance in traditional radio’s top 50 markets.

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About Radio Coach Sam Weaver

  • Marcia Neil

    Obviously the radio stations are panicking, since they routinely broadcast ilegally copyrighted music, and the Arbitron Ratings company is an easy target.

  • http://www.radiocoach.biz Radio Coach Sam Weaver

    Marcia,thank you for commenting,I appreciate your opinion.