PPM pushback in NYC


The NY Post reports City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and a group of her colleagues Friday urged a listener-research group to ditch PPM as the new way of monitoring New Yorkers’ radio habits-saying the method will skew results against minority-audience stations. The latest episode is similar to the uproar when Nielsen was planning to use new technology to measure audiences.

"We want to make sure that in the five boroughs minority radio continues to flourish and thrive," the paper reported Quinn saying at a press conference denouncing the PPM device. Sanford Moore, a KISS-FM (WRKS-FM) radio personality, also denounced the move, saying it could "signal the death of minority radio as we have come to know and depend upon it," particularly as a way of learning about news stories.

RBR observation: Arbitron offered no comment at deadline, however, the studies Arbitron has released so far on measuring minority listening with PPM indicate the numbers have actually improved. Here’s a recent quote just days ago at Interep’s Power of Urban Symposium from Radio One CEO/President Alfred C. Liggins, III: "Electronic measurement is providing compelling evidence about the power of Urban radio to reach and engage the African-American consumer. It is also demonstrating the ‘working persons’ advantage that Urban radio offers marketers who want to reach the brand conscious and brand loyal African-American consumer."

Indeed, PPM isn’t perfect, but it’s better. "Crying the PPM wolf" every time ratings suffer will only detract from the more important issues Arbitron is trying to improve with the system-like offering it via a cell phone to improve carry rates. When stations denounce the new system, agencies hear it. What does that do to their decision making when planning and buying for their clients? Like Victor Miller of Bear Stearns stated ‘Radio is the only business that fights in public.’ Sometimes this public perception is unhealthy.