Miami Takes Exception With Arbitron’s PPM Rollout

Headaches abound for Arbitron’s portable people meter rollout. In Miami, where Univision Communications has refused to encode its signals, the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners Tuesday (June 30) adopted a resolution urging Congress, the Florida legislature and federal and state officials to “ensure” that the PPM does not under-represent minority radio listeners.

Miami, along with Phoenix, San Diego, Minneapolis and Seattle, is scheduled to get its first radio ratings based on the PPM methodology on July 16. So far, Arbitron has commercialized the PPM service in 15 markets.

The Miami resolution comes one day after the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform said it would open an investigation into the ratings service to see if it misrepresents minority targeted radio stations.  

As part of the resolution, the county commissioners urged the Attorney General of Florida to investigate the PPM, referencing Arbitron’s settlements earlier this year with three state attorney generals in New York, New Jersey and Maryland. The resolution also calls for legislation that would require Arbitron to receive Media Rating Council accreditation before rolling its service out. So far, Arbitron’s PPM service is accredited in two markets, Houston and Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif.

“Arbitron is disappointed to have been left out of the county commissioners’ information and educational process. We are sorry we were not afforded an opportunity to use fact-based arguments to address assertions made in the resolution,” the ratings firm said in a statement.

Arbitron has had its hands full with several groups that have put pressure on government and regulatory bodies to intercede on their behalf. Under pressure from minority broadcasters such as the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters; the Spanish Radio Association; and the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, the Federal Communications Commission initiated a notice of inquiry regarding the PPM. Comments are due Wednesday (July 1).