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OH NO: Arbitron PPM Investigation States System is Indeed Flawed for Minority Stations

Well, it appears that Urban radio’s general and even specific concerns about the PPM system were correct. There are indeed flaws in the system which many smaller urban stations like kjlh in Los Angeles have vehimianley pointed out. While we talk to urban programmers in all size markets weekly, we have not heard a plethora of disparaging remarks about the system, but we have also not heard resounding appreciation for it either and the stations that don’t like it dispise the system. The House Committee on Oversight and Government reform states there are “Persistent Problems” with the system including an example of a flaw in NY where the committee cited current census data that reflects a 25% African American population, while the PPM sample was only 17.7% African American. OUCH! Arbitron is denying the allegations

The PPM Coalition Response to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reforms Statement Regarding Flaws with the PPM System state: “Yesterday’s statement from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on its findings from subpoenaed records from the Media Ratings Council (MRC), demonstrates the seriousness of the Personal People Meter (PPM) system’s flaws. As the Committee indicated in its statement, a review of MRC data shows that the PPM system suffers from ‘persistent problems’ in minority sampling; the system has “unacceptably low” audience participation in the sample; and Arbitron has made “insufficient efforts to use bi-lingual interviews to recruit Spanish dominant Hispanic sample participants.” We applaud Chairman Edolphus Towns for undertaking this investigation. ??The Committee’s findings echo concerns raised by the PPM Coalition for the more than a year in our efforts to encourage Arbitron to address these serious systemic flaws. It is our hope that today’s Committee statement will serve as a wake-up call to Arbitron. They can no longer afford to ignore these problems ““ they have a responsibility to their customers, the industry, and above all the radio listening public to address these serious issues.

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