Chicago, Arbitronally

Bit of a snit in Chicago, where a station once ranked twentieth suddenly become top-ten material, arbitronally . . . This article on the Chicago Sun-Times website details doubt expressed by station competitors:

The most cynical of local radio executives believe the boost in WBEZ’s ratings fortunes can be explained by something as basic as the composition of the Arbitron portable people meter sample that determines the ratings. As radio execs have learned since the PPM technology was introduced two years ago in Chicago, the addition of just two new PPM users to a sample pool that numbers fewer than 1,000 people in Chicago can cause the ratings to shift — sometimes dramatically — depending on their listening habits. About 10 percent of the PPM sample pool changes each month in Chicago, so there are always going to be ratings fluctuations.

Station execs, of course, see it as good word-of-mouth and increasing news coverage — but still say that ratings are so volatile as to not be totally reliable. But, as the quote suggests, just two new PPM users can cause the ratings to shift. See this post.

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