Morris: Radio Will Get Through Recession 'Ugliness'

Arbitron CEO also sounds confident note on 'fight' against Nielsen sticker diary
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Arbitron President/CEO Steve Morris says that while the U.S. is in a recession, it doesn't mean the demise of radio.

"Things may get worse next year, but they're also bad in television" and in other media, he told attendees of the consultant Fly-In last week in Columbia, Md.

"The long-term picture for radio is not bad. We just have to get through the ugliness of the near-term," he said.

For Arbitron, that means enhancing its core business: ratings. It plans to measure digital audio and digital video that's connected to audio.

Regarding its Portable People Meter, Arbitron will have the electronic ratings device in 12 markets by the end of this year — a challenge for the ratings company to support both PPM and diaries in some of those markets.

Arbitron plans to introduce cell-hone-only households into the diary ratings this coming spring in 50 markets. The move is seen as key to reaching young males in the surveys.

And what did he have to say of the news last month that Cumulus chose Nielsen to produce diary ratings in 50 small and medium markets, and that Clear Channel will use the service in 17 of those markets?

"We are not going to give an inch." Arbitron won't abandon its diary markets that Nielsen will also use to measure with its once-a-year sticker diary. "We view this as a fight, a fight we intend to win."

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From the time he founded WANN(AM) in historic Annapolis in 1947 until he sold it in 1997, Morris H. Blum used his radio station to champion human rights in a city that, years before, had served as a slave arrival port.