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Clear Channel to use new electronic rating system

June 25, 2007|From the Associated Press

NEW YORK — Radio industry leader Clear Channel Communications Inc. has agreed to use a new electronic rating system in the top 50 U.S. markets, a person familiar with the agreement said.

The electronic audience measurement system is aimed at replacing a decades-old system of paper diaries. Several other radio broadcasters have already agreed to use the new system from Arbitron Inc.

A person familiar with the situation said Friday that the Clear Channel deal covered the top 50 U.S. markets and the contracts would typically run for four years.

Many broadcasters, including CBS Corp.'s CBS Radio unit, No. 2 in the U.S. market, have already reached deals to use Arbitron's Portable People Meter, a pager-like device that detects audio codes embedded in radio broadcasts.

PPM ratings, while more expensive to produce than the old paper diary method, provide far greater detail about radio listening and don't have to rely on the memory of listeners.

Clear Channel has long resisted using Arbitron's PPM system even as it gained adherents. The company cited several concerns, including cost, and said it wanted to explore alternatives.

In March, Clear Channel made its first pact to use PPM measurements in Philadelphia, where the company owned six stations. In May that city became the first in the U.S. to be measured by PPM ratings.

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