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Arbitron Changes 13-Year Old Policy Defining Metro Survey Areas

March 9, 2011

Arbitron has changed the criterion for redefining metro survey areas in its diary markets.  Arbitron says it "established the new listening and commuting criterion in response to changes in the radio business environment and in consultation with representatives from its Radio and Advertiser/Agency Advisory Councils."

According to the company, "the new criterion for determining if a county qualifies to be in the Metro is based on a 70-point criterion, which replaces the 55 percent listening/15 percent commuting criteria that had been in place since 1998."

Under the new 70-point criterion, a county would qualify for inclusion in a Metro when the sum of the percentage of listening and the percentage of commuting is 70 percent or more, provided that a minimum of 55 percent of the listening quarter-hours in the county are credited to stations that are home to the existing metro.  Counties with less than 55 percent listening to metro stations, regardless of commuting percentage, are not eligible for the metro.

Under the former criteria, at least 55 percent of the listening quarter-hours in the county had to be credited to stations that are home to the existing Metro and at least 15 percent of the commuting in the county must have been into the existing Metro.  The new rule has no minimum for commuting. The new criterion is expected to take effect in time for redefinitions to be applicable for the Fall 2011 survey period. 

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