FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein has sent a letter to Chairman Kevin Martin, urging that the Commission begins an official investigation into the methodology of Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings service. In the letter, Adelstein wrote, "We have heard from numerous broadcasters and advocates for diversity that the continued deployment of [the PPM] in new markets without accreditation from Media Ratings Council constitutes a clear and present danger to media diversity."
He added, "Because Arbitron ratings play such an integral role in the business of broadcasting, the Commission needs to launch its own inquiry to determine whether the PPM ratings are accurate and reliable."
Arbitron has insisted that the FCC does not have jurisdiction and authority over the company or its ratings systems. In October, the company filed extensive comments with the Commission, citing "extensive precedent" where the FCC and Congress have recognized that the Commission lacks the authority to regulate ratings.
Its PPM methodology has come under increased scrutiny in recent months, as minority broadcasters have accused the company of under-representing their listenership and the states of New York and New Jersey have sued Arbitron.