Ratings scandal in Providence?

Sid Schweiger sid@wrko.com
Fri Aug 8 07:05:14 EDT 2008

>>Call me naive but what makes anyone think that six people in this guy's hometown wouldn't be listening to his show every hour?<<

OK, you're naïve.  (Sorry...couldn't resist.)  Since when does living in the guy's hometown have anything to do with whether or not people like his show?

>>I mean, all his family members could be listening.<<

Of course...but they're not supposed to have diaries, and that's the issue here.  When Arbitron calls or writes someone asking for participation, the respondents are supposed to answer truthfully about their media affiliations or that of any member of the same household.  The Herald story suggests that someone lied about it.

>>As well, how many diaries go out in Providence to have only six totally skew the numbers? Weird.<<

Not weird at all.  In a market that size, there aren't really that many diaries placed, so six can make a significant difference.  Having said that:  Diary placement, the typical method used to fill them out (most diaries are not filled out contemporaneously, but at the end of the day or week) and the rate of diary returns has long been a sore subject with many Arbitron subscribers, which is why the PPM was developed.  It still depends to a large extent on the respondent's willingness to use it as directed, will turn itself off if it's not removed from its charger/modem once a day and does not rely on the respondent's recollections, but it should be, in theory, a much more reliable indicator of listening patterns.

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