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Arbitron signs settlement with the Attorney General of the State of New York

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Company agrees to incorporate specific actions into its continuous improvement program for the Portable People Meter service in the New York radio market

Inc. (NYSE: ARB) announced today that it has joined in a Stipulated Order on Consent with the Attorney General of the State of New York (NYAG) that will resolve all claims against that were alleged in the lawsuit filed by the NYAG in New York County Supreme Court on October 9, 2008.

The lawsuit alleged violations of New York state executive, business and civil rights statutes relating to the marketing and commercialization in New York of the Portable People MeterTM radio ratings service. As part of the settlement, Arbitron will incorporate a number of actions into its continuous improvement program for the Portable People Meter ratings service in the New York radio market.

In summary, within the PPMTM service for the New York Radio metro, Arbitron has agreed to: Recruit panelists using a combination of telephone number and addressed-based sampling methods beginning January 2009. Arbitron has committed to use the address-based sampling technique for 15 percent of our recruitment efforts in New York by July 2010 Increase the sample target for persons residing in cell-phone-only households to 15 percent of the total New York sample target by July 2010;

Set a target of 20 percent for the New York Sample Performance Indicator (SPI) by 2010 and make all reasonable efforts to achieve a minimum 15 percent SPI level by July 2009, 16 percent SPI level by October 2009, and 17 percent SPI level by June 2010;

Take all reasonable measures to achieve average in-tab rates of at least 75 percent for all age/sex and race/ethnicity demographic groups by April 1, 2009, and to ensure that subcategories comprising 10 percent or more of the New York Metro population fall within 90 percent of the overall 75 percent target;

Provide to subscribers monthly reports detailing the PPM installed and in-tab sample sizes by individual zip code in the New York Market;

Complete a non-response bias study in the New York market by July 15, 2009. Should the study indicate any measureable bias, Arbitron will use all reasonable measures to address identified sources of ratings bias within 6 months;

Make all reasonable efforts to obtain and retain accreditation for the New York PPM radio ratings service from the Media Rating Council;

Fund an advertising campaign in the New York market promoting minority radio;

Include a disclaimer on promotional material indicating that PPM ratings are based on audience estimates and should not be relied on for precise accuracy or precise representativeness of the New York radio market.

The company also agreed to pay $200,000 in settlement of the claims and $60,000 for costs. The company will pay $100,000 to the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB) for a joint radio project between NABOB and the Spanish Radio Association to support minority radio.

The New York Attorney General reserves the right to rescind the Order and reinstitute the civil action, if the company has not obtained accreditation from the Media Rating Council for its New York PPM radio ratings service by October 15, 2009 and also has not achieved all of the specific metrics in the agreement.

Commenting on the agreement, Steve Morris, chairman, president and chief executive officer stated: Å“Broadcasters, agencies and advertisers in New York can continue to use PPM measurement of radio without any hesitation or reservation. We are also pleased to be able to resolve this action within the framework of our continuous improvement program for the Portable People Meter ratings service in the New York radio market. These initiatives are sure to increase the accountability of radio to the benefit of all New York radio broadcasters and their advertisers. 

CEO of RF Focus, Radio and Music Industry Veteran. Radio DJ, Programmer, Musician and Voice Talent. Graduated from Performing Arts in Buffalo, N.Y. and worked at the legendary KKBT (92.3 The Beat) during its nationwide heyday in the early 90s. Also worked for Stevie Wonder at KJLH.