NABOB calls again for PPM slowdown


Arbitron remains confident
For the second time, the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB) has called for Arbitron to postpone its rollout of Portable People Meters (PPM) in more markets until it corrects what NABOB asserts are "serious flaws" with the audience measurement technology. "Arbitron has issued several months of PPM data, and it is clear, not just to our members, but to the radio industry as a whole, that this new technology is flawed. We have seen all radio audiences decline, and urban radio station audiences decline significantly, under PPM.   Early on we expressed to Arbitron the problems of reliability of their data caused by the low sample size used, particularly among African-Americans in the 18-24 demo. The samples in both Philadelphia and Houston for this demo have been consistently and substantially below the proportion of the population represented by this demo, and substantially below the sample size Arbitron set for itself to reach," said Jim Winston, Executive Director of NABOB.

Arbitron discussed last week with reporters how it is dealing with PPM sample shortfalls in Houston and Philadelphia (8/16/07 RBR #160), but the data being generated is "statistically valid," CEO Steve Morris insisted.

"We remain confident in the validity of the PPM service in Houston and Philadelphia. The PPM ratings are not flawed. Major broadcasters have also shown their confidence in the PPM system by continuing to sign long-term contracts for PPM ratings services," Arbitron said Friday in a statement issued in response to NABOB. "We will continue to work with NABOB on the issues they have raised. We will continue to review with all broadcasters the initiatives that are part of our effort to continuously improve the quality of our PPM samples," Arbitron said. During the press briefing Wednesday, Arbitron officials noted that Emmis Radio President Rick Cummings has organized a coalition within Urban radio which is working on "The Power of Urban Radio in a PPM World," which will be presented for the first time at the next Arbitron consultant fly-in.