Congress wants info on PPM


As requested by the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, the Spanish Radio Association and the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Edolphus Towns (D-NY) has jumped into the Portable People Meter controversy. But Arbitron says that’s fine.

Towns has written to the FCC expressing concerns that “the increased use of PPM will further threaten the financial viability of minority targeted radio stations.” He expressed concerns that PPM devices aren’t being deployed in minority communities and that cell phone only households are being missed. He asked the FCC to report back by July 1 on what it has found from its inquiry into PPM. That may be difficult, since the comments on the FCC’s Notice of Inquiry are not due until July 1 and one of the main questions of the NOI is whether the FCC has any authority to even investigate PPM.

Arbitron says it welcomes the Congressional interest. “Arbitron welcomes any opportunity to discuss the importance of electronic measurement, the effectiveness of the PPM technology, the value of the data it produces and our disciplined approach to the deployment of the service across the United States. Arbitron looks forward to sharing with the Committee our expertise and insights based on our long history and extensive experience in gathering, distributing and supporting the currency that is used throughout the radio industry by broadcasters, advertisers, and agencies,” said Arbitron CEO Michael Skarzynski.

RBR/TVBR observation: The United States Congress certainly has authority to investigate PPM. As we’ve stated before, the FCC does not. So, maybe this is moving to the proper forum.