RBR asked if broadcasters had any response to the PPM issue and/or glitch. Here’s what they had to say:
Bob Neil, Cox Radio CEO: "Why didn’t we hear about this in last week’s big conference call? Either they didn’t know or they didn’t want to deal with it. They claim to be watching the sample closely, so if they didn’t know this was coming, I guess we see that was just lip service. If they did know, it’s pretty clear they didn’t want to discuss and disclose it. So much for transparency.
We pay for 12 months of reliable data, and they need to deliver it. They have had over five years of testing to get this right, and we were promised that it would be right and it was ready. Surely, after all the testing, they ran into these issues with seasonality, so that isn’t an excuse.
If you think this is bad, just wait until you see the bigger markets convert to PPM when there are more than just two markets rolling and the ethnicity and geography are even more complex than Houston. Radio has only ourselves to blame if we let them get away with it."
Mike Ginsburg, GM Lotus Fresno’s: KLBN-FM/KMMM-FM/KGST-AM/KOQO-FM:
"Until PPMs are integrated into cell phones or car key fobs, something people habitually already carry, failure seems imminent. It’s like the pen we can never seem to keep."
Russ Whitnah, WFIL-AM Philadelphia VP/GM: "How would you like to have the future success of your advertising campaign based on this research tool?!"
Consultant Randy Kabrich: "Less than one week ago on their subscriber conference call, in response to a question on panel management, Pierre [Bouvard, Arbitron President/Sales & Marketing] told me to "handle programming and let them (Arbitron) deal with panel management".
48 hours later, Arbitron told the NABOB "PPM ratings are not flawed" and said they "remain confident in the validity" of the data.
Less than 1 business day later, Arbitron put out flawed PPM data with no validity – passing through all their quality controls without raising a single red flag.
If I had followed Pierre’s advice, we would have never learned of this error, as Arbitron was still denying it existed as late as this morning to the press.
Clearly, their Quality Control is not working nor is their panel management-and Arbitron rolls out more live markets in 30 days. Arbitron is clearly over their heads in this even after 7 years of live tests. We may be told "not to look behind the curtain" but this should be a wake up call to all broadcasters."