Arbitron: Ratings or MC Device???

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Arbitron: Ratings or MC Device???

Postby MinM » Tue May 26, 2009 12:04 pm

I came across this piece by Dick Morris this morning...
(fyi there was a crapload of hidden code in the Morris piece)

By Dick Morris And Eileen McGann

Obama’s liberal philosophy dictates that when the news is bad, shoot the messenger. The newest data from Arbitron, the company charged with measuring the size of radio audiences, suggests that listenership to hip hop, inner city, and minority radio has been overstated in the past and that the popularity of conservative talk radio has been under-reported.

This conclusion - ideologically inconvenient for Obama - comes from the company’s decision to dispense with the Stone Age way it has been measuring radio audiences - by hand written diaries based on listener memory - with modern machines which automatically record what the person is listening to and for how long.

The opening barrage in Obama’s efforts to reign in talk radio was fired by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) this week when its acting Chairman Michael J. Copps announced an investigation of Arbitron’s radio measuring technology called the Portable People Meter. (Not to be confused with the Purple People Eater celebrated in song in the 1950s)... ... alk-radio/

So now Clear Channel® Rock & Roll™ will be able to charge higher ad rates than Clear Channel® Hip Hop™???

The more interesting part of this story comes in when you take a look at these proposed 'Portable People Meters'.

What exactly do they do?

How do they do it?

Who's behind this effort? | Arbitron’s Portable People Meter
Arbitron, the radio ratings service, is switching from giving folks diaries in which to record their radio listening, to issuing them “Portable People Meters” (PPM) a pager-like device that they wear while they’re awake.

The Portable People Meter, is worn like a pager and can track when and where consumers watch television, listen to radio and interact with streaming media.

The device listens for an inaudible time and station code embedded into a station’s audio. It detects motion, and there is a headphone/earbud adapter available. Then at night the unit gets plugged into its docking station and it “phones home” to download its data. Instead of quarterly ratings books, Arbitron will have 13, 4-week rating books a year using the device.

It uses psychoacoustic masking, hiding tiny bits of sound energy in the normal audio output which creates a “fingerprint” corresponding to a specific series of digits encoded in the broadcast. While present in the audio stream, the embedded code cannot be heard.

The encoding technology is paired with decoding technology that searches out and recognizes the inaudible code. This decoding system was developed by Arbitron with the assistance of Lockheed Martin. The decoder’s DSP identifies the specific numeric code—and thus the signal source—of audio programs encoded using the Arbitron encoder... ... ple-meter/
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