Cumulus Co-COO John Dickey spoke to RBR about his company’s RFP for an alternative ratings system, set to launch in markets 100+.
Why is it taking so long?
“I know it has taken longer than what we originally had published, as far as what we wanted to see on dates on making decisions—that I can tell you. And it has taken longer because the size of this undertaking is enormous—in terms of all of the different proposals, thoughts and ideas we’ve fielded and had to sort through—but also in terms of the significance of what this means to us and the industry. So we did not want to be constrained by an artificial deadline that we imposed, as much as we wanted to make—and will make—a very informed, solid decision.
How many have you narrowed it down to?
“We had roughly a dozen-and-a-half people and companies contribute their thoughts, ideas and proposals to this process. We are in the final stages of wrapping up the outcome of this and ultimately, the outcome will mean that we will have one company and one approach that we will be endorsing and working with. We will be making that announcement probably the first week of November.
Have you gotten a lot of interest from other broadcasters who might want to use the system/idea you choose?
“That’s a very good question. And the answer is ‘absolutely.’ The entire industry—all broadcasters—have had their eye on this process and they’ve called me from time to time to give me their personal feelings about the state of audience estimates and Arbitron and our business and what they like and dislike about it. So this has opened up a channel for lots and lots of operators/broadcasters to make their feelings known to me. So are we going to go down the aisle with other broadcasters hand-in-hand using this product whatever it happens to be and with whom it is, I can’t tell you that. This undertaking is not something we’re doing just on our behalf just for our company. This is something we think is going to be good for us and for everybody, and I believe that the interest we see from other broadcasters and where this may go from this point forward will be reflective of that.”