President of CBS Radio Counters PPM Naysayers


This time, radio groups in favor of Arbitron's portable people meter aren't going to sit idly by while a handful of others blast it. During Arbitron's monthly PPM progress call with the industry Thursday (May 22), Dan Mason, president and CEO of CBS Radio came out in defense of the PPM in the wake of actions by Cox Radio, Inner City Broadcasting and Spanish Broadcasting System.

Via a limited-run print in select online radio trade publications, Cox and Inner City demanded that Arbitron achieve Media Rating Council (MRC) accreditation before rolling out PPM. While Arbitron has MRC accreditation in Houston, it has been unable to achieve it in Philadelphia.

Calling his remarks "the other side of the debate," Mason said: "MRC accreditation is not currency. Currency is the consensus between a buyer and seller that establishes itself as the currency. MRC accreditation is good, it's a Good Housekeeping seal of approval-type thing, but it is not the currency. What we want to do at CBS, and we've taken the stand, we want better measurement. And we like electronic measurement because it's the future."

Mason also took those listening on the call through a history lesson to put the issue in perspective. "It took Scarborough [a joint venture between Arbitron and Nielsen, parent of this magazine] 10 years to receive accreditation from the MRC. Media Audit, a very fine product that we use everyday at CBS, [has] no accreditation. It's also interesting to note that at least one of the major companies that are very much against PPM use Media Audit every day in the market." Other examples Mason cited were Birch Ratings, which never received MRC accreditation, not to mention C3 ratings in network TV, which has been used two years in the upfront.

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