Updated: Congressmen Send Letter to Arbitron Chairman

Sens. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) sent a letter to Arbitron chairman, president and CEO Stephen Morris on Friday (Sept. 19) asking the company to “take all steps available, prior to rolling out the PPM system in additional markets, to ensure that the system accurately measures the listening behavior in a market and that no station is unfairly harmed.”

PPM is currency in Houston and Philadelphia and will soon be expanded to New York, Nassau-Suffolk, Middlesex, Los Angeles, Riverside, Chicago, San Francisco and San Jose.
Acknowledging that the methodology has only received Media Rating Council (MRC) accreditation in Houston, Inouye, who is chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and Leahy, who is chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, wrote, “If the methodology used in the unaccredited markets is underreporting listenership in certain urban or Hispanic-oriented programming, thereby distorting the market, it will harm the important broadcast policy of diversity.

“In light of the potential for severe harm to media diversity, we strongly encourage you to continue working with the MRC toward accreditation in all markets in which Arbitron plans to commercialize PPM as the sole ratings method. As you know, the MRC’s Voluntary Code of Conduct discourages ratings companies from discontinuing use of an accredited ratings method, such as Arbitron’s diary service, until a replacement method is accredited.”

The senators also asked Arbitron to update them on their commercialization process.

Responding to the Inouye/Leahy letter, Arbitron released this statement from president and CEO Steve Morris: