House Committee Requests GAO Study of the Arbitron PPM

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Washington - Jul 24, 2009 - House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) today led a bipartisan group of ten members of Congress in requesting the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a study on the use of the Arbitron Portable People Meter (PPM) and its effect on radio station revenue streams. Many minority-owned broadcasters have expressed concerns about the validity of the data collected by the service.

"Considerable concern has been raised by broadcasters about the accuracy of data collected by the Arbitron Portable People Meters," said Conyers. "The advertising revenues and viability of minority-owned radio stations depends on an accurate measurement of their audience ratings. I believe it would best serve the public interest to conduct an independent review of the methodology and accuracy of this process."

PPM ratings are already in use in 20 markets to establish radio advertising rates.

The letter specifically requests the GAO to evaluate whether survey samples adequately account for young minority listeners, cell-phone-only households and non-English-speaking people, as well as geographic granularity, survey respondent income and country of origin.

The group has asked for the analysis to be complete by April 2010.

In addition to Chairman Conyers, nine other congressmen signed the letter: Rick Boucher (D-VA), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Linda Sanchez (D-CA), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Darrell Issa (R-CA), Edolphus Towns (D-NY).

Arbitron issued a statement saying it will monitor the situation and that it "welcomes every opportunity to discuss the PPM technology, service and [its] sampling methodology."

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