General Gansler Announces Radio Ratings Agreement with Arbitron
Company Will Improve its PPM System To Better Reflect
MD (February 6, 2009) - Attorney General Douglas F.
Gansler today announced an agreement with Columbia, MD - based
Arbitron Inc, the leading provider of ratings services to U.S.
radio stations and radio advertisers, that will require the
company to improve its system for determining radio ratings
in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore radio markets, resulting
in a more accurate sampling of the radio audience in the two
Under the agreement announced today, Arbitron will take several
steps to more reliably represent all segments of radio listeners,
particularly younger and minority listeners, including:
additional recruitment efforts to capture, as part of its sampling,
cell-phone-only households that do not have
a landline telephone;
- Take all reasonable measures to ensure that
recruitment of racial and ethnic minorities surveyed is commensurate
with the racial
and ethnic composition of the geographic area being surveyed,
including using home addresses, rather than just telephone numbers, to identify
- Meet numerical measures
of proportionality between Arbitron’s
sample results and the actual populations in the Washington,
D.C. and Baltimore radio markets;
- Provide additional information
about the PPM sample results to broadcasters, advertisers and
other users of the data.
Arbitron’s Portable People Meter, or PPM, is an electronic
data-collection technology that records audience exposure to radio
signals. Arbitron is in the process of introducing its PPM system
in the nation’s top radio markets, where it is replacing
the written “diary” system the company historically
has used to survey radio listeners.
Attorney General Gansler
had concerns that with the initial rollout of Arbitron’s
PPM technology, there was a serious risk that certain groups
of minority listeners could be undercounted, imperiling
the financial viability of minority radio stations whose ad revenues
depend on the size of their rated audience.
“Arbitron’s PPM technology is a valuable tool for
the radio industry,” said Attorney General Ganlser. “Developed
here in Maryland, the technology is already in use in the Washington,
DC market and soon to be implemented in the Baltimore radio market.
As its use continues to grow, it is critical that the PPM system
is implemented in a manner that accurately reflects the listening
audience and treats all broadcasters fairly.”
“We congratulate and thank Attorney General Gansler for
his leadership in ensuring that Arbitron’s new PPM system
accurately reports the listening preferences of African American
and Hispanic listeners in Maryland,” said a statement from
the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters and the Spanish
Radio Association. “Significantly, this is the first agreement
that requires Arbitron to solve these problems prior to implementation
of its PPM service in a market, in this case, Baltimore. We deeply
appreciate Attorney General Gansler’s commitment to this
important civil rights issue.”
The Washington, D.C.
radio market where Arbitron introduced its PPM service at the
end of 2008 includes Calvert, Charles, Frederick,
Montgomery, and Prince George’s Counties in Maryland. The
Baltimore market where Arbitron intends to roll out the PPM service
in 2009 includes Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll,
Harford, Howard, and Queen Anne’s Counties in Maryland.