The Arbitron Radio Advisory Council (RAC) meeting which wrapped up Friday in Charlottesville, VA was "very productive" in the view of RAC Chairman Steve Sinicropi, VP/GM for Cox Radio in Greenville, SC. With the Portable People Meter (PPM) now deployed in two markets, Philadelphia and Houston, with many more to come, the RAC is committed to marketing the advantages of PPM to ad buyers. Sinicropi said the council doesn't want buyers to be confused by the new ratings currency and for them to make the proper adjustments to buying based on PPM ratings. He also noted that Arbitron has demonstrated to the RAC that it is committed to achieving proper representation of all demographic groups with PPM.
But PPM wasn't the only topic. Most markets will still have diaries and Sinicropi said the council is focused on confidence in both currencies, diaries and PPM. The RAC has been calling for larger sample sizes in smaller markets and 42 small markets are now due to get larger diary samples this fall at no additional cost. And Arbitron is introducing a new qualitative product for small markets. Also, in three larger markets which will not immediately have PPM, Arbitron is recommending larger diary samples. Those markets are Atlanta, Memphis and West Palm Beach. Arbitron will be meeting with broadcasters in those markets to discuss its proposal for larger samples.
Radio isn't just AM and FM anymore. The RAC has asked Arbitron to be prepared to offer "alternative audio reporting" no later than April 2008 to measure radio listening by the Internet or whatever other outlets may carry the programming.
A surprising new issue that has developed is possible tax consequences from electronic data delivery, with stations perhaps getting hit with out-of-state tax bills for use of their ratings data. "It's very confusing," Sinicropi said. The RAC has asked Arbitron for a clear explanation of the tax consequences related to electronic data delivery.