How to make Bob Neil shut up


“I think they could do it in 24 hours by saying, ‘tomorrow we’re going to go to the Houston sampling system in Philadelphia and beyond – and our minimum benchmark in the individual demos is 85%.’ If they did that, I’d say that’s great. I think that’s a terrific starting point. We would be for full-speed ahead,” Bob Neil said.

An unprecedented ad campaign launched last week by Cox Radio and Inner City calls for broadcasters to pressure Arbitron to hold off on the PPM rollout until it wins MRC accreditation for the methodology currently in use for Philadelphia and subsequent markets. CBS Radio CEO Dan Mason took issue with that view last week and said the PPM rollout should continue because it is vital for the radio industry.

Neil said Arbitron thought it was important to get MRC accreditation before making PPM currency in Houston, so he disagrees that it is not so important now, since Arbitron has changed its recruitment methodology. The Houston PPM recruitment is essentially door-to-door, when necessary, since it was created in anticipation of a joint venture with Nielsen to do both radio and TV ratings. Philadelphia and all future markets are supposed to use a less costly telephone recruitment methodology. Neil wants to see MRC accreditation before that new system is used anywhere else.

“It was important enough for Arbitron to do it in the very first market that they wanted to commercialize. So now they’re saying that the biggest markets in America – the most rich media markets in America – that that isn’t important any more? We just disagree with that. We think that given the track record of Arbitron, since Philadelphia’s launch, the poor sampling, the problems that we had…what scares us is that they’re not really ready to do this,” Neil said.

Want more? You can hear the entire interview in the RBR/TVBR Media Center or just click here.

RBR/TVBR observation:
Despite the disagreements over how PPM is being implemented, we’re not aware of anyone in radio who loves Arbitron’s diaries so much that they don’t want to see them replaced by electronic measurement. The disagreement is over whether PPM is really ready to replace diaries today. RBR/TVBR is going to be carrying lots more on this from various viewpoints as the time approaches this summer for a decision by Arbitron on whether to go ahead with the planned resumption of the PPM roll-out this fall.

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