I can’t justify the concept that the FCC has absolutely no control over Arbitron’s PPM, and should have a "hands-off" approach to the sudden and mysterious drop of Urban, Spanish and other formats not considered "Hockey Mom Friendly."
The encoding signal, which is transmitted in total secrecy, over FCC licensed signals should be enough of a reason for the FCC go "open the door" into an investigation. If you don’t believe it’s a secret signal, just ask your Chief Engineer what mode is being used, and how often is the data sent. I’m betting he or she doesn’t know.
One year ago, this next week, I was fortunate enough to install a PPM encoder into the audio lines of one of Chicago’s Top Five stations, according to the PPM ratings of last week. Last year, that same station was not even close to being in the Top Ten!
Was it programming genius? Or, was it the Urban and Hispanic listeners simply won’t wear the PPM device? It is the ultimate statement… "Big Brother IS listening!"
Broadcasters have agreed to surrender their programming lines to a secret encoding method that now would punish others.
And, I’m still waiting to see a PPM unit installed in one suburban ethnic broadcast facility in any one of those major markets.
Mark Heller, President and GM
WGBW Radio Station
Two Rivers, WI