House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., has slated a hearing on Dec. 2 to examine the Arbitron Portable People Meter and its effect on diversity in radio broadcasting.
Specifically, the committee will examine whether the PPM technology and methodology accurately measure radio audiences and whether PPM negatively affects radio stations owned by minorities or targeted toward minority listeners.
Since June, the committee has been looking into whether the PPM underrepresents minorities as some radio groups and others allege it does. Arbitron has been increasing its sample targets for minorities in PPM. The company issued a statement saying it welcomes the chance to appear before the committee and discuss the importance of electronic measurement and the effectiveness of PPM.
The committee will address such factors as the effect of PPM as currency in a radio market; the importance of diversity in broadcast media; the impact of PPM on minority broadcasters and communities; and issues affecting sample quality in PPM technology.
Radio World recently reported Dr. Barry Blesser, director of engineering for 25-Seven Systems (and a contributor to Radio World Engineering Extra), is advising the committee on the PPM encoding and decoding process.