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What Is a Radio Metro?

Arbitron updates a ‘listening and commuting’ redefinition policy it has been using for 13 years

Citing changes in radio’s business environment, the industry’s biggest ratings service is making a change in how it defines metro survey areas for diary markets.

Arbitron issued an updated criterion, saying it did so in consultation with its Radio and Advertiser/Agency Advisory Councils. The criterion is used to decide whether a station is included in a specific metro area.

Meanwhile Arbitron is reviewing the same policy for markets that use the Portable People Meter.

“The new criterion for determining if a county qualifies to be in the Metro is based on a 70-point criterion, which replaces the 55 percent listening/15 percent commuting criteria that had been in place since 1998,” it stated.

“Under the new 70-point criterion, a county would qualify for inclusion in a Metro when the sum of the percentage of listening and the percentage of commuting is 70 percent or more, provided that a minimum of 55 percent of the listening quarter-hours in the county are credited to stations that are home to the existing metro,” it continued. “Counties with less than 55 percent listening to metro stations, regardless of commuting percentage, are not eligible for the metro.”

Arbitron said that in the past, at least 55 percent of listening quarter-hours in the county had to be credited to stations that are home to the existing Metro, and at least 15 percent of the commuting in the county must have been into the existing Metro. The new rule has no minimum for commuting.

This all will take effect in time for redefinitions to be applicable for the fall 2011 survey period. It was announced by Executive Vice President of U.S. Media Services Sean Creamer.