Broadcasters to FCC: Hands off PPM


Nine radio groups have told the FCC it should reject a call by the PPM Coalition to launch an investigation of Arbitron’s Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings system. “The subject of the PPM Coalition’s complaint – purported deficiencies in the methodology used for audience measurements employing PPM – is wholly outside the purview of the Communications Act and, hence, the FCC’s jurisdiction,” said the joint filing by Bonneville International, Entercom, Buckley Radio, Greater Media, CBS Radio, Lincoln Financial Media, Citadel Broadcasting, MegaMedia Group and Emmis Communications. Reply comments in the FCC docket proceeding were due yesterday.

The nine radio companies noted that audience measurement services provided by Arbitron are based on private contractual relationships, governed by the laws of the various states. They also noted that the Media Rating Council (MRC) was established at the behest of Congress in the 1960s to review and accredit media ratings services. MRC review of PPM is ongoing. The nine radio companies said it would be “counterproductive and intrusive” for the FCC to inject itself into an area where it has no expertise.

“The FCC should not attempt to extend its jurisdiction beyond the boundaries established by Congress decades ago, particularly in this instance, where Congress specifically supported the establishment of the MRC to perform the identical function the PPM Coalition wants the FCC to usurp,” the filing said.

The PPM Coalition, which has been pushing for the FCC to get involved, consists of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, the Spanish Radio Association, the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies, and five radio group owners: Border Media, Entravision, Univision, SBS and Inner City.