Adelstein Asks Martin For Formal Inquiry Into Arbitron Ratings System

Investigation needed to determine if ratings system is "unfairly harming minority broadcasters"

FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein has asked Chairman Kevin Martin to open a formal inquiry into whether Arbitron's Portable People Meter radio ratings system is "unfairly harming minority broadcasters."

The FCC sought comment back in September about whether it should conduct an investigation into whether the meters undercounted minorities and thus undercut the viability of diverse media outlets. That was in response to a request from the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, Spanish Radio Association, Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, American Hispanic Advertising Association, Border Media Partners, Entravision, ICBC Broadcast Holdings, Spanish Broadcasting System, and Univision.

The FCC's Diversity Committee had also recommended the FCC open an inquiry.

In a letter to Martin Tuesday, Adelstein said that the upshot of those comments was that there was sufficient concern to warrant the investigation and that it needed to begin ASAP given that Arbitron was continuing to roll out the technology.

"Because Arbitron ratings play such an integral role in the business of broadcasting..." said Adelstein, "the Commission needs to launch its own inquiry to determine whether the PPM ratings are accurate and reliable."