Radio Ups Ante: Arbitron Signs Entercom

Entercom Communications, one of the largest radio broadcasters in the country, has signed a deal with Arbitron for radio ratings from its Portable People Meter service, as soon as they become available as "currency" in various markets. With Entercom on board, Arbitron now has multi-year agreements for PPM service with most of the major broadcasters, including Clear Channel, CBS, Citadel, Cox, Cumulus, and Emmisa.

The agreement will deliver radio ratings for 64 Entercom stations in 14 cities where Arbitron plans to commercialize PPM service in the next two years--including Austin; Boston; Denver; Greensboro-Winston Salem-Highpoint in North Carolina; Indianapolis; Kansas City; Memphis; Milwaukee; Norfolk; Portland, Oregon; Providence, Rhode Island; Sacramento; San Francisco; and Seattle. That represents over half of Entercom's total portfolio of 110 stations.

In announcing the deal, David Field, Entercom's president and CEO, observed that PPM "is reporting that an average radio station reaches twice as many listeners as the diary has been telling us. Radio should not pass up any opportunity to remind advertisers that we are a reach medium."



However the PPM rollout has been rocky, with some of Arbitron's biggest broadcast clients criticizing its failure to reach target sample sizes for certain key demos, including minority audiences.

Arbitron is implementing measures to bring the sample sizes up-- including culling non-participants from the panel, those who don't carry the PPM with them as promised, recruiting new panel members and increasing financial incentives.

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