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Saga's Steve Goldstein responds to Randy Kabrich

In yesterday's RBR consultant Randy Kabrich lashed out at Saga Communications Executive VP Steve Goldstein and other industry leaders, blaming them for pushing Arbitron to introduce PPM too quickly (12/4/07 RBR #235). Here is a response from Goldstein:

It is unfortunate that some people in our industry believe that personal attacks, incorrect statements and irrational beliefs can serve as a substitute for intelligent discussion and positive dialogue that looks to protect and improve our industry. I guess certain reputations are well deserved after all. So let's get past the bomb throwing and move to the more difficult task of crafting solutions.

We all know that Arbitron has some deep and difficult issues ahead. None however, is more critical than delivering on the promised sample and augmenting it if necessary. It is obvious to everyone that Arbitron needs to inspire confidence among their clients and the ad community.

But anyone who thinks the transition from the 40-year-old diary to a brand new technology will happen without bumps and glitches is not grounded in reality. Nielsen certainly had numerous trials and tribulations transitioning TV to electronic measurement, and while far from perfect and easy to impugn, their current system is without question a better form of measurement than the diary.

Members of the Arbitron Advisory Council certainly understand that, and have seen the evidence over the years of discussions we have had with Arbitron. Just to be clear, none of the elected and appointed broadcast industry representatives on the Advisory Council work for Arbitron. We have been highly critical, suspect and often in complete disagreement with many of their policies and actions. Those discussions - and disagreements - have been clearly documented and can easily be referenced by anyone interested in constructive dialogue rather than blatantly offensive, unfounded criticism.

Radio is in a more difficult place than ever. The diary is challenged and it is likely that if it were presented to the MRC today would not meet the criteria for accreditation. Advertisers are demanding more accountability, or they will continue to move dollars to other media which have already made the move to electronic measurement. Radio is behind the curve because, as an industry we are not unified. Infighting, negativity, misinformation and head-in-the-sand pontification are combining to cost us money.

Hopefully our legacy as council members and Arbitron clients is that we will help to move the industry toward recognition that the lack of electronic measurement is retarding our growth right now and stands as a growing threat to our future. PPM - warts and all - is our best chance to win back the confidence of disgruntled advertisers.

It's easy to throw bombs, but it is time for the industry to move forward... bumps, Philistine consultants and all.

Steven J Goldstein
Executive Vice President
Saga Communications

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