Radio Council Urges PPM Accreditation

Radio broadcasters are coming under increased pressure from advertisers to provide electronic measurement data. So the Radio Advisory Council is putting pressure on both Arbitron and the Media Rating Council to resolve issues impeding MRC accreditation for the Portable People Meter (PPM), Arbitron's candidate for electronic radio ratings.

The MRC refused to give accreditation to PPM after its first review in June, but is leaving the possibility open. With Clear Channel Radio in the lead, an industry committee reviewing measurement options has insisted on MRC accreditation for any new "currency." At the same time, Clear Channel and Arbitron are waging their own PPM battles.

The Radio Advisory Council--14 elected radio broadcasters representing small and large markets--issued a statement on Tuesday encouraging Arbitron and MRC to move swiftly to solve any kinks, although members don't know what the issues are.

"Because of the confidentiality agreement, we've not had enumerated to us what else has to be done," says William Kelly, chairman of the Radio Advisory Council and a vice president and market manager for Clear Channel Radio. "We put this resolution together, in part, in the hopes it will get Arbitron and the MRC to come together and clean up whatever needs to be cleaned up with all deliberate speed."



Kelly emphasized that he was speaking solely in his capacity as chairman of the council, whose views don't represent Clear Channel Radio.

Clear Channel and Arbitron have fought over the suitability of PPM as a next-generation electronic measurement device, with other big radio players occasionally chiming in. Given widespread impatience for electronic measurement in the radio industry, PPM advocates have accused Clear Channel of dawdling as it leads a lengthy industry audit.

In response, Clear Channel cited MRC's decision not to grant accreditation to the PPM, and questioned Arbitron's ability to roll out PPM for nationwide measurement in a timely fashion.

Industry insiders have speculated that the conflict between Arbitron and Clear Channel may be a cover for fierce price negotiations for ratings from the new measurement system--implying that an eventual adoption of PPM is likely. Pointing to the close cooperation and scale of investment for a recent study by Arbitron and Media Monitors, a research company owned by Clear Channel, veteran radio analyst CL King wrote: "We find it a potential positive for PPM that a CCU-owned company cooperated with ARB to put out a major radio study that greatly relied on PPM data."

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