Cox, Radio One Hold out on PPM Encoding; Device to be Re-designed

Cox, Radio One Hold out on PPM Encoding; Device to be Re-designed
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In an effort to get the remaining radio groups in Houston to take part in the next PPM test, Arbitron has contracted with one of the designers of the iPod to re-design the Portable People Meter. Although 38 of 50 stations will encode in Houston beginning in January, Cox and Radio One are still holdouts, Arbitron's Jay Guyther told consultants at their annual meeting with the ratings firm. Cox doesn't like the design of the device and Radio One is worried that enough African-Americans aren't represented in the sample, he said.
Fifteen out of 16 TV stations will encode their signal as will 44 out of 46 cable systems.
Arbitron is operating two identical panels in Houston. Of the 1,050 people per panel, 28% are Hispanics and 18% African-American.
The Arbitron Advisory Council wanted the PPM to be tested in an additional market, saying that the race and ethnic make-up of the Philadelphia panel wasn't diverse enough. (The panels mirror the population of the cities.)
Houston will be the 5th test market for PPM and there will likely be an additional market test, Guyther said.
Arbitron has contracted with one of the designers for the iPod to redesign the pager-like look of the PPM, which was originally developed 14 years ago. Arbitron is now using the 10th version of the meter, which Guyther said is smaller and has a longer battery life.

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Broadcast engineers in the top 50 radio markets will have new responsibilities when Arbitron switches each market from ratings based on paper-and-pencil diaries to ratings collected electronically by the Portable People Meter system.