Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) has been a critic of Arbitron’s Portable People Meter (PPM) in the past for its alleged undercounting of minorities. Now he is praising the settlement announced by Arbitron and the PPM Coalition.
“I am pleased to see that after so much effort expended on the matter by so many, Arbitron and the PPM Coalition have agreed to a settlement that will allow all parties involved in this matter to move forward in a collaborative manner to ensure minority owned stations and minority focused stations are fairly represented in ratings. These stations are vital for the communities they serve, but the dramatic financial storm created by the combination of the economic downturn and the implementation of a flawed PPM ratings methodology forced many to the edge of bankruptcy. I look forward to seeing the results of Arbitron’s efforts to improve its ratings methodology and to continue working with my colleagues in Congress and minority stakeholders to ensure fair standards for the PPM methodology are implemented in all markets nationwide,” Menendez said.
The senator said the PPM ratings system had drawn significant criticism because of the methodology’s tendency to under-represent the listenership of minority-owned and minority-focused radio stations. The low ratings driven by a flawed PPM methodology lead to plummeting revenues that ultimately can force these stations out of business, he charged.
As part of the new agreement, Arbitron, the PPM Coalition, and the Media Rating Council (MRC), will undertake a series of steps designed to enhance the recruitment and data collection methodology of Arbitron’s PPM ratings service.
The senator’s office noted that Sen. Menendez, who has been a strong advocate on behalf of these stations and the communities they serve, called on Arbitron on various occasions last year to adopt appropriate standards to ensure the ratings measurement system provides the highest level of accuracy.