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Ratings Sample Quality Remains On the Table

Arbitron Radio Advisory Council says it’s a balancing act between cost, needs

Sample quality remains the Arbitron Radio Advisory Council’s biggest issue with the audience research firm.

The group, made up of member client companies of the ratings service, met with Arbitron Wednesday, according to Chairman Don Benson of Lincoln Financial Media.

Benson says Arbitron provided updates on its ideas to improve both the size and makeup of its Portable People Meter ratings samples, however “the concern still exists and we are simply not there yet.”

Benson called the issue “an essential priority” going forward, and reiterated there is no one, single solution to the issue radio station customers have had in its sights for years.

The ratings firm has made some changes in its methodology to improve sample size and quality, but has also said it can only do so much without raising the rates its clients pay for ratings. “The cost going up is part of what we’re having to navigate. It’s a balancing point and different for each client,” says Benson, who adds, “That’s why we��re looking at a series of different ideas. Some would be expensive and some clients don’t want to pay for that.” 

The advisory council will have a new slate of officers next year. Vice Chair Craig Jacobus, president of South Central Communications, will become chair and Joel Oxley, senior regional vice president and market manager of Hubbard Radio’s Washington, D.C. market, will become vice chair. Benson will become past chair.