Nielsen's Week: Studious

New York—When Nielsen Media Research last month postponed launch of its local people meter (LPM) to June 3, it agreed to cooperate with an advisory task force on minority viewership to be assembled by Congressman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.). But late last week, he admitted the group hasn't been assembled and couldn't say when it would be.

Meanwhile, leaders of the House Commerce Committee and Telecommunications subcommittee last week asked the Government Accounting Office to study whether LPMs undercount minorities.

Earlier in the week, Nielsen itself hired the University of Southern California's Tomás Rivera Policy Institute, an independent Latino policy research organization, to review the findings of last year's National Latino Media Council's Latino Television Study that concluded Nielsen undercounts minorities. And Nielsen released its own study showing that minorities spend far more time watching cable (and less watching broadcast channels) than the old paper diaries gave them credit for.

Political Ad Loophole Remains

Washington—Republican nonprofit groups are likely to begin pouring bucks into political advertising (Democratic nonprofits have already spent $35 million). The Federal Election Committee last week delayed a decision on a loophole in the 2002 campaign reform that allows nonprofits to skirt the ban on unlimited "soft" contributions. Democrats exploited it; Republicans complained about it. Whatever happens, any new FEC rules couldn't apply until after the November election.

Vacant Channels for Wi-Fi

Washington—The FCC is proposing allowing wireless connection facilitators or Internet service providers to operate on unused channels nationwide. That means, in cities where broadcasters operate on, say, channels 5 and 8, users of FCC-approved devices could use channels 6 and 7. Broadcasters are worried about interference.