Arbitron Begins New Minority Recruiting Push

As promised, Arbitron has begun an in-person recruiting program targeting markets with high densities of African-American and Hispanic residents. It hopes to bolster participation by members of these ethnic groups in audience samples for its Portable People Meter radio ratings.

The first three months are to be something of a test period, according to Beth Webb, Arbitron's director of PPM research, who said the company will probably have to "tweak" the recruiting process before rolling out the full-scale recruiting push.

That will include address-based recruiting, to account for the growing proportion of cell phone-only households among young adults and minorities across the top 25 media markets.

Arbitron expects to have the full-scale push underway by the fourth quarter of this year; the company will introduce in-person recruiting to all PPM markets over the course of 2011.

The in-person minority recruiting push is one of a number of measures undertaken by Arbitron to placate minority broadcasters, represented by the PPM Coalition, which took the company to task for its failure to meet target sample sizes for minority listeners. Minority broadcasters claimed this resulted in apparent declines in audience size, damaging their ad business.

After months of congressional hearings and a threatened investigation by the Federal Communications Commission, Arbitron and the PPMC announced in April that they had settled their dispute, with a number of concessions from Arbitron, including the new in-person and address-based sampling efforts.

Additional initiatives undertaken by Arbitron to help support minority and all broadcasters include launching an engagement metric by the end of this year; increasing the PPM sample size for people 18-54 by approximately 10% by mid-2011; forming a minority leadership council to bring the leadership of broadcasters and agency communities together; and expanding current advertiser outreach initiatives for minority radio.

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