Arbitron Settles With Yet Another Attorney General


Arbitron has reached an agreement with Maryland's Attorney General that will require the company to implement measures to more reliably represent younger and minority listeners in its portable people meter ratings service in the Washington and Baltimore markets. The measures are similar to those Arbitron agreed to earlier to settle lawsuits brought by the Attorneys General of New York and New Jersey.

The agreement with Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, announced Friday (Feb. 6) is the first that that requires Arbitron to implement methodological changes prior to commercializing its electronic ratings service in a market. Baltimore is scheduled to convert from the diary to the meter beginning with the September 2009 ratings report. Washington went live in December 2008.

"Arbitron’s PPM technology is a valuable tool for the radio industry," Ganlser said in a prepared statement. "Developed here in Maryland, the technology is already in use in the Washington, D.C. market and soon to be implemented in the Baltimore radio market. As its use continues to grow, it is critical that the PPM system is implemented in a manner that accurately reflects the listening audience and treats all broadcasters fairly."

As expected, the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB) and the Spanish Radio Association applauded the settlement. “We congratulate and thank attorney general Gansler for his leadership in ensuring that Arbitron’s new PPM system accurately reports the listening preferences of African American and Hispanic listeners in Maryland,” the organizations said in a joint statement. “Significantly, this is the first agreement that requires Arbitron to solve these problems prior to implementation of its PPM service in a market, in this case, Baltimore. We deeply appreciate attorney general Gansler’s commitment to this important civil rights issue."

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