First PPM Results Reveal Ethnic Variations

African-Americans listen to radio more frequently and for longer periods of time than other ethnic groups, according to data released Friday by Arbitron.

That finding is part of the first "currency" radio ratings in the Philadelphia area, based on results from its Portable People Meter, a passive electronic measurement device. The ratings, covering March 8-April 4, revealed that 9.4% of African-Americans over the age of 6 were listening to the radio during an average quarter-hour measurement period, as compared with 9.1% of the overall radio market.

African-Americans also listened to the radio for a longer period of time, on average, than the population at large: They averaged 12 hours of listening a week, versus 11.5 hours for the total population. Interestingly, the Arbitron data shows that Hispanics listened to radio less than the population at large, on average, with 8.6% of Hispanics surveyed listening during an average quarter hour, and a total average listening time of 11 hours.

According to Arbitron, the first batch of PPM results revealed other interesting trends not described by the paper diary system. (PPM intends to replace paper in as the definitive radio ratings.) Chief findings: radio reaches a higher number of full-time workers than previously assumed. In addition, more radio listeners are employed full-time, on average, than the general population.

Previously, the Arbitron paper diaries suggested that 60% of listeners during an average quarter hour were employed full-time, while 25% were unemployed. The new, more precise PPM results put the figures at 64% and 23%, respectively. This is good news for radio, which can claim to deliver an audience with more disposable income than initially believed.

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