October 6, 2008

The Death of Black Radio

Here's writer Kristal Brent Zook's thoughts of the Root.com

Black radio was once among the most influential engines of political and economic power for African Americans. Today it remains an important source of news and inspiration for black audiences. But thanks to new ratings technology being introduced this week, black-owned radio may be embarking on a fierce fight for its very survival.

For decades, Arbitron, the sole provider of audience measurement ratings for the radio industry, has used a fairly low-tech way to measure audiences. It calculated ratings in part by recruiting volunteers to write a diary or log of what they listen to. Advertisers used the Arbitron ratings to decide whereto buy airtime and how much to pay for it.

This Wednesday, Arbitron will officially begin using a new system called the
Portable People Meter (PPM), a cell phone-like device worn by participants to measure their listening habits. The initial rollout is expected to take place in eight cities, including Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. Read more>>

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