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NYC Council Calls on FCC to Probe PPM

Spanish Radio Association says Arbitron's methodology is 'a real threat.'

The New York City Council this week approved a resolution calling on the Federal Communications Commission to investigate whether Arbitron’s Portable People Meter ratings system undercounts Hispanic and black listeners.

The commission took comments on the issue until this week, but has not taken further action.

The Spanish Radio Association, consisting of Hispanic groups Univision Radio, Spanish Broadcasting System, Entravision Radio and Border Media Partners, said the measure “should serve as a wakeup call for local governments and minority communities around the nation.”

The association stated: “Arbitron’s flawed PPM ratings methodology will severely harm media diversity and ultimately limit the variety of voices and viewpoints on our country’s radio airwaves. It is a real threat, not only to minority communities but could also have a devastating impact on local economies and needs to be taken seriously.”

Arbitron reacted to the council action: “We are disappointed by the council’s failure to recognize: that broadcasters, agencies and advertisers in New York and other major markets have made it clear that PPM is critical if radio is to remain competitive in an increasingly challenging media marketplace; the quality of the PPM samples in terms of African-American, Hispanic and Spanish-Dominant representation; the continuing dialogue Arbitron maintains with Urban and Hispanic broadcasters and agencies; and the outreach we are making to highlight the value of African American and Hispanic consumers in the PPM world.”

The company says its role is to provide information that is based on actual behavior of radio audiences.