Action Alert

NAACP Opposes Proposed Damaging Changes by Arbitron in How They Determine Black and Hispanic Radio Station Ratings

October 2, 2008

Change would potentially damage african-American and Hispanic radio stations in 8 of the Nation’s largest markets

The Issue:
Arbitron, the company that has a monopoly on providing radio rating services across the Nation, is considering using a new phone-based system for collecting data in 8 of the Nation’s largest markets beginning October 8, 2008.  If all goes well, a nation-wide expansion of this new methodology is expected to follow.  This new proposed methodology has been severely criticized by an independent ratings expert organization as it dramatically undercounts and misrepresents the listening habits of racial and ethnic minorities.  As a result, many black- or Hispanic-owned radio stations could suffer a tremendous loss in revenues and eventually be shut down as a result of this proposed change.

Given the importance of radio stations owned and operated by African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities to the survival of our culture and to the promotion of independent thinking, such a move would be devastating. 

Since 1951, when the NAACP launched the nation’s first campaign against discrimination in broadcasting, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has recognized the importance of ensuring that a diversity of viewpoints is available over our nation’s airwaves.  The NAACP has a long history of working with the FCC to achieve this goal through increased minority ownership of radio and employment of minorities by radio stations.  Moreover, given the vital role that minority owned radio stations play in their communities, it is imperative that the FCC investigate the accuracy and reliability of this new ratings system to ensure that the public interest is served.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is currently considering launching an investigation into this proposed change, whether or not the new methodology accurately reflects the listening habits of racial and ethnic minorities and the long-term impact this change would have on racial and ethnic minority American owned radio stations across the Nation.  The FCC is also accepting public comments on the new methodology and on the proposed study.  The deadline to make a comment is this Monday, October 6 2008.  The NAACP encourages everyone to contact the FCC and ask that it conduct the study and that Arbitron delay its planned October 8th roll-out of the new methodology until the study has been completed.

THE ACTION We Need You To Take:

Contact the Chairman of the FCC and ask that the Commission conduct a study of the proposed Arbitron change in radio rating methodology and that Arbitron not use the new methodology until the study has been completed.  To contact the FCC Chairman, you should:

Send an E-Mail
Send an e-mail to the Chairman Kevin Martin of the FCC at:

Sample Letter »

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