The Buzz

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The Buzz was certainly surprised to hear how "delighted" Arbitron was to learn of Clear Channel Radio's RFP for a more accurate ratings service. We're sure that President-CEO Steve Morris is ecstatic that his $55-million-a-year client is leading an "industry-wide effort to speed the adoption of electronic measurement." The part Mr. Morris didn't mention in a statement last week is that Clear Channel has invited other consumer- and media-research companies to pitch as well.

To be sure, Arbitron can boast of its electronic personal people meter, or PPM, which last week was adopted in Norway. But Clear Channel CEO John Hogan-who vehemently denied this was a negotiating technique with Arbitron-called the U.S. rollout of the PPM the "longest birthing ever."

Who does Arbitron blame for the tardiness? The radio groups, of course. "We've responded to what the industry has asked for," said Thom Mocarsky, VP-communications, Arbitron. "They said do another market more heavily Hispanic [after a 2003 Philadelphia trial], do a twin-panel comparison, do more research on response rates, do an economic impact study. That's what the industry asked us to do and we rolled up our sleeves and did it." Looks like it's time to roll those sleeves up a little higher.

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