Ben Fong-Torres, writing in the Chron, describes the changes ahead for the local radio industry when the ratings system switches from diaries to the Portable People Meter, which a listener wears. The meter (shown here next to the base station) is the size of a beeper and it captures silent codes radio stations will send out. Survey participants place the meter at the end of the day in the base station to recharge the battery and to send collected codes to a household collection device known as a “hub.” Arbitron’s literature says the system will be rolled out here in June and Torres says it will arrive in the spring. Torres spoke to a number of local broadcasters who were all optimistic about the new system. A couple of quotes:

    • “We’re excited,” says KCBS GM Doug Harvill. “It’ll accurately show the number of people using our station.”

    • “The devices are very accurate and provide accountability for this medium that television has had for years,” says Dwight Walker, market manager for Entercom’s local stations, KOIT, KDFC and KBWF (the Wolf).

    • “I can hardly wait for it to get here,” says Larry Sharp, PD at KSAN (the Bone). He had read reports from Philly, which showed that young men (in the coveted 18-34 age range) are more willing to wear the PPM (it’s just another gadget) than women (who usually throw such things into their handbags), thus resulting in higher ratings for rock stations.

    • Kim Bryant, president of Clear Channel’s Bay Area stations (such as 106 KMEL, Wild 94.9, Star 101.3 and KKSF 103.7), expressed some concerns about women’s fashions working against the device: “They don’t necessarily have a belt” to clip it to, she notes.

Brad Kava, formerly of the Merc, writes on his blog that the biggest change is that men will be counted more, and they listen to more rock radio. Kava writes, “The reason why is fairly logical. Women are better diary keepers. Its something they are trained to do from an early age.”

(Photo credits: Arbitron)

SF Press Club News,

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