On yesterday’s Cox Radio Q3 conference call, CEO Bob Neil mentioned many of the agencies out there haven’t been properly trained on the PPM transition. "Having said that, the agencies are going to use anything they can to try and negotiate with you on price. Arbitron was selling snake oil when they were trying to get everybody to sign up for this-that agencies will make this one-time conversion and what have you. Of course, that’s unmitigated baloney…But at the end of the day there are a couple of things going on. There is a tremendous amount of chaos among the agencies trying to figure [this] out. Things have changed, so how do they use this information now? [with] most agencies there is no consistency at all in terms of whether they’re going to use the most recent months; whether they’re going use the a blended average of two, three or four months. It’s all over the road. So whenever you have that kind of chaos in a market, it doesn’t bode well for the revenue situation. This is probably about what we’ve seen in Philadelphia-they’ve pretty much stayed negative from the moment it was introduced."
RBR/TVBR observation: Radio was down 7% in September-the marketplace is tough. A TV station that served the Philly market from Reading, PA was recently sold after bankruptcy-WTVE Ch. 51. So Philly, like many other markets, is losing dollars to other mediums. Can we blame PPM? Not completely, that’s for sure. PPM is supposed to get more confidence and ad dollars from agencies-once it gets established and the bumps smoothed out. We hope that’s sooner, rather than later.