Pooping on the People Meter

You’ve got to hand it to the radio industry.

Late to the party on everything.

Digital radio – real late.

The Internet – still not there.

Electronic ratings – only by the hair on their chinny-chin-chin.

After years of the kind of resistance and lack of leadership radio marched into the 20th century (not the 21st!) by adopting Arbitron’s Portable People Meter (PPM). It was way overdue.

Once the big boys were on board, the others followed. The People Meter has been operational in Philadelphia and Houston for only months now and the radio industry is on the road to destroying it.

Some major groups are running their mouth publicly because they have gripes.

Cox. Radio One. Beasley.

Look, there’s lots to gripe about.

PPM is new. It’s a more modern way to capture listening. The radio industry seems to want the new People Meter results to equate to the old, deficient diary results. That’s why they carp about ethnic placement. Fret about early signs that respondents are growing weary of carrying the device and failing to take it out of the dock every day.

God knows there are tons of other issues that the obsessive/compulsive radio industry has been raising. And they have a right to raise these concerns.

But, not publicly.

Now, led by major groups, the radio industry is taking this fight to the street – Wall Street! Horrors!

The last time radio aired its dirty laundry on Wall Street was when Clear Channel trumped up an excuse to initiate “Less Is More” by shouting from the mountain tops that radio has a clutter problem.

The radio industry then made a federal case out of the length of commercial spots. It must be nice to fight in public.

But it’s not smart.

Ask any listener how to handle “Less Is More”,

Play fewer commercials. They don’t care about the difference between a :10 and a :30 or a :30 and a :60. They’re all commercials. Deal with it.

Let’s make the People Meter simple.

Forget the diary.

Forget comparing to the diary.

Forget having it both ways.

Forget threatening Arbitron in public – it only hurts you. If you feel Arbitron isn’t taking you seriously, you can retaliate at renewal time. A few big companies can impact Arbitron’s bottom line. Hell, Clear Channel alone can put a hurt on Arbitron.

Where are radio’s leaders?

Let your djs have the big mouths. You should use diplomacy. If not for the sake of your reputation but for the sake of the industry that is on its way to another black eye – the one it is giving itself.

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