Small market frustration with Arbitron

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It would appear to those of us in Condensed Markets that Arbitron couldn’t care less about MRC accreditation for PPM.  On April 3, 2008 I sent an inquiry to George Ivey, MRC’s CEO via the MRC staff e-mail address, asking if they were also in charge of accrediting Arbitron’s SmartPlus agency buying program.  To date, there has been no response.  Despite promises made by Arbitron managers on a conference call on November 19, 2007, the SmartPlus program STILL allows an illegal calculation when buyers ask for a two-book average in Condensed Markets!  The Strata buying program goes "clank" and won’t allow the erroneous calculations, but Arbitron’s own SmartPlus program goes merrily on it’s way and skewing the numbers (and the buys) dramatically.  I’m sure the folks at MRC are way too busy with the PPM pimple to pay any attention to these other problems.  Arbitron has been stone-walling us for over two years while they diligently try to sweep this whole thing under the rug.  Since February of 2006, we have worked diligently to bring the problem to Arbitron’s attention, document the damages to our stations and asked them repeatedly to apply a simple "fix" to their flawed program.  What does MRC have to say about that?  To date – not one single word!


Charlie Ferguson

Northern Broadcast, Inc.

General Manager

Editor’s note: Arbitron stated in December that this problem is being resolved (12/11/07 RBR #240).