Arbitron, Gary Fries meet with diary caucus for improvements


Arbitron has met for the fourth time with a group of diary-market broadcasters called the Diary Market Owner/Operator Caucus to review and plan for service improvements for diary-based ratings markets. The meeting was held in Chicago on October 29 and was led by Gary Fries, president emeritus, Radio Advertising Bureau.

The Diary Market Owner/Operator Caucus includes representatives who have provided feedback and advice on the company’s plans to improve the ratings services in markets measured using the diary. The caucus first convened in June 2007, with follow-up meetings held in August 2007, October 2007 and October 2008.

“I have worked closely with Arbitron for a long time and believe it has made more progress on improvements for diary markets in the last 12 months than it has in the past decade,” said Fries. “Arbitron needs to keep the momentum going and move even faster. It’s good to see that cell-phone-only sampling is coming because it should help improve the sample for persons ages 18 to 34. I am also encouraging Arbitron to move forward with plans to design Web-based data collection tools and test whether these could replace the paper and pencil diary as a primary means to collect data.”

The meeting on 10/29 focused on Arbitron’s plans to improve diary market sample quality, to expand Scarborough’s qualitative services tailored for mid-sized markets; and to accelerate work on new methods for gathering listening and qualitative data beyond the paper diary.

Arbitron also reviewed its previously announced implementation plans for sampling homes that can be reached only by cell phone in diary service markets starting with the Spring 2009 survey; redistributing incentives from older respondents to younger persons in diary services markets starting with the Spring 2009 survey; and establishing an 18-54 sample benchmark scheduled in diary service markets starting with the Fall 2008 survey.

“The Diary Market Owner/Operator Caucus, Gary Fries and the Radio Advisory Council all deserve credit for urging Arbitron to move faster,” said Tom O’Sullivan, VP/Diary Market Development, Arbitron. “Gary’s leadership and the feedback from these groups helped us to decide to move 50 markets of cell-phone-only sampling up to Spring 2009 instead of Fall and to our introduction of the new 18-54 benchmark for diary markets.”

Among the radio execs attending the meeting were: Gerry Boehme, executive vice president, Strategic Planning and IT Services, KATZ Media Group; Peter Coughlin, president/director, Cohan Radio Group; Maynard Grossman, corporate director of sales, URBan Radio Broadcasting; Brad Guagnini, general sales manager, Brewer Broadcasting; Jess Hanson, senior vice president, Research, Clear Channel; Thom Mandel, president, Rubber City Radio Group; Dale Miller, president, West Virginia Radio Corp.; Frank Osborn, president, Qantum Communications; and Dave Shakes, partner and chief programming officer, Results Radio.