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The Song Remains The Same on Sample Size


The two biggest complaints you hear from broadcasters about Arbitron are sample sizes being too small and prices too high. The Arbitron Radio Advisory Council addressed the sample size issue this week and the result was the same, more work needs to be done. RAC Chairman Don Benson said we need to be in a better place and we are not there yet. It was almost a carbon copy of the RAC report from May, the last time the group met. 

Benson said, Arbitron provided updates on ideas to improve sample quality and effective sample size, based on the Council's request back in the spring. "I will tell you that Arbitron has been responsive and shared a series of ideas. While some good work has been done by both Arbitron and the Council, particularly with some subcommittee work, on this process, the concern over sample still exists. We are simply not there yet. There is no one silver bullet that is going to be an easy resolution for this issue. There is more work to be done by both parties and it is continuing. I will tell you, this remains, for the Council and it's members, an essential priority going forward."

When asked what that "better place" is on sample size, and whether or not there was even unity within the industry on that "better place," Benson said  that's a very good question. "I think there are a series of different opinions, as you could imagine. You've got a broader spectrum of clients and members in there. I think that is being more crystallized and we are really, again, just evaluating different ideas as they are presented to us. Each has it's own individual impact. I would hate to escape back to the point about there not being one simple solution, but there really isn't. That gives you the option to look at it as a series of different approaches on how to best remedy it. Each has its own contributory impact to it. The feeling is that we need to get it to an improved position from what it is."

Benson wasn't specific about what's being discussed, only that they are in the idea discussion stage. "I think that they've been honed down a bit. But, as we move along, there are also a variety of ideas that weren't necessarily discussed in the early stages that I think will get discussion as we go forward. The choices, I think, just aren't limited to... and the discussion points aren't limited to what we covered back in the early summer when we talked about that timing issue with Arbitron. Ideas have come out yesterday. That's why it really is a process and a discussion, and it seems like it has been going on for a long time. And, it has, but I think we are really making a concentrated effort to get this resolved."

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