WASHINGTON -In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has called off its three-year investigation into Arbitron’s Portable People Meter (PPM) device, and claims that it undercounted minority listeners.
The FCC officially opened the inquiry in 2009, following a number of allegations that alleged Arbitron had insufficient young black and Hispanic listeners in its sample groups.
This investigation was originally called for by former FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, who had argued in 2008 that the ‘damage PPM is doing to minority stations undermines the will of Congress to increase diversity of media ownership’.
The inquiry received voluble support from radio industry lobbyist the PPM Coalition (PPMC) - a group of minority radio broadcasters which includes NABOB (National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters), the Spanish Radio Association, Univision and other bodies representing minorities.
However, back in April last year, Arbitron President and CEO William Kerr (pictured)reported that his firm had settled its dispute with the PPMC, after the two parties had worked with the Media Rating Council to implement a series of steps designed to enhance the recruitment methodology of the PPM ratings service.
The PPMC has now filed a request with the FCC asking that the investigation be officially closed, explaining in a statement:
‘Based upon the progress that has been made to date, PPMC asserts that no further investigation by the commission is warranted. In addition, pursuant to the April 2010 Action Plan, the Diversity Committee withdrew its request for a commission investigation into the use of PPMs. In light of the agreement reached between the parties in the Action Plan and the withdrawal of the Diversity Committee’s request, we hereby grant the withdrawal request and terminate the proceeding without further action or decision on the merits.’
The Coalition is made up of Univision, Entravision, Border Media Partners, ICBC, NABOB, Spanish Broadcasting System, the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, the Spanish Radio Association and the American Hispanic Advertising Association.