Sell honesty


First things first: I am no big fan of Arbitron. At least not the diary system that exists in the majority of the country’s rated markets. I discontinued a contract with the ratings giant after spending thousands of dollars to watch ratings that varied by huge spreads book-to-book. I still find it hard to believe that most people in today’s busy society have – or take – time to notate their radio listening habits as required to generate the ratings. Even for just a week.
That’s why I have to stand in Arbitron’s corner on PPM. They’re trying to improve a severely flawed and outdated system. Operating commercial Christian radio stations is a tough road where ratings and revenue are involved. The Christian audience is diverse – undefined by age, gender, or ethnicity. As far as ratings go, the problem is that the Christian audience is also generally honest. We only get the ratings that we deserve, not the pencil-whipped numbers more indicative of "what I’d listen to if I were using radio today." Reading the reports from New York that the new PPM system somehow slights people of certain ethnicities is ludicrous. Like Christian radio, those broadcasters may have to learn to wave the banner of reality.
As niche radio, we’re routinely offered pennies on the average dollar by advertising agencies, and compete against market peers whose only weapon is a sword of inaccurate numbers. All because Arbitron has been the "accepted evil" under the diary system. PPM seeks to solve that. No more numbers from diaries completed just before they were mailed. Gone is the notoriety factor among non-radio users. Seeing a billboard while listening to your iPod won’t factor in, either.
Face the facts. PPM puts honesty back in the ratings. Sell that.
Dan DeBruler
General Manager
Christian Listening Network
Fayetteville, NC