FCC's Martin addresses PPM publicly

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Posted by madcityradio.com on October 15, 2008 at 15:47:18:

FCC chairman Kevin Martin, speaking to reporters gathered for a hastily-called meeting and teleconference call outside his Commission headquarters on Wednesday (Oct. 15) afternoon, said, "It is not clear if we have the legal authority" to rule on Arbitron�s PPM introduction. The PPM Coalition has filed a petition with the FCC to investigate Arbitron's data collection method�s with the new electronic technology, and attorneys generals in New York and New Jersey have filed suit against Arbitron. "We are considering what we should end up doing," added Martin.

On Oct. 10, New York's AG Andrew Cuomo filed suit against Arbitron over its PPM, accusing the Columbia, Md., company of deceptively claiming that its new meter system is valid, fair, and representative of diverse radio markets. Later in that day, New Jersey attorney general Anne Milgram filed suit against the ratings company, charging that its use of the "new, unaccredited system for measuring listenership harms minority consumers and violates New Jersey�s consumer fraud, advertising and anti- discrimination laws."

But the PPM issue was clearly not at the top of Martin�s concerns Wednesday. He was clearly agitated with his four commissioner colleagues who, on Monday (10/13) evening, told him they were not prepared to vote on his long-pushed-for plan to force cable companies to also carry some 500 low power television stations throughout the nation. The topic was withdrawn from the FCC�s open monthly meeting agenda on Tuesday (10/14) afternoon and will not be addressed at Wednesday�s FCC meeting being held in Nashville. The late notice withdrawal has been doubly embarrassing for Martin because it has left a handful of powerful cable executives stranded in Nashville, expecting their topic to be discussed.

Martin, who�s term as FCC chairman will likely end Jan. 20 when he is expected to tender his resignation to make way for the new president�s choice of chairman, was nearly yelling when he told reporters that he is "very upset that the other four commissioners had months to consider" his proposal. When asked by reporters during the hour-long discussion about the cable executives, some of whom had flown from the West Coast just for the meeting, being stranded in Nashville, Martin shouted, "I am frustrated for them as well."

The FCC�s open monthly meeting began at 10:30 a.m. and was held in the Monroe Carrell Jr. Children�s Hospital on the campus of Vanderbilt University in Nashville. The meeting was part of the university�s Pediatric Obesity Conference. Childhood obesity and the impact and role media serve in the area of children's health is one of commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate�s key subjects.

(Jeffrey Yorke, Radio & Records)

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