Arbitron (ARB) Tables 21st Century, Again

The slow, agonizing campaign to modernize radio ratings just ground to a halt again: Arbitron (ARB) says it will delay the rollout of its electronic “Portable People Meters” in 9 markets until September 2008. Until then, Arbitron will measure radio audiences the same way it has since 1965 — by asking people to remember what radio stations they listened to during the day and to jot down the information using paper and pencil.

Arbitron says it is delaying the rollout, which has been in the works for years, after hearing gripes from “customers, the Media Rating CouncilĀ®, other industry organisations and community groups.” Arbitron doesn’t specify what those gripes are, but they are almost certainly station owners who’ve seen their ratings go down when the people meters are used, and from minority groups who feel the meters under-represent their populations. Release

Related: Arbitron’s Brewing Ratings Controversy: A Repeat

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