FCC may look into PPM


The FCC hasn’t decided to launch an inquiry into Arbitron’s Portable People Meter radio ratings system, but it hasn’t decided not to either. What the Commission has decided to do is seek comments on the petition from several groups calling for an emergency investigation into PPM methodology. The Commission is moving unusually fast, with comments due later this month.

The FCC notes that the request from the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, the Spanish Radio Association, the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies, Border Media, Entravision, Univision, SBS and Inner City is similar to one from the Commission’s own Advisory Committee on Diversity.

The petition claims that an emergency investigation is the only way the FCC can “shed light on the methodological problems identified in early PPM markets and avdert harm to minority broadcasters from a rollout of PPM with a flawed methodology that undercounts minority audiences.” The petition, as noted by the FCC, claims that the Commission has “ample jurisdiction” to conduct the inquiry – a claim sure to be disputed by Arbitron and others.

The proceeding has been assigned the Media Bureau Docket Number 08-187. Comments are due September 24th and reply comments on October 6th.