KCRW's People Meter problem

Listening to velvet-voiced Jason Bentley the other day on the radio pitching KCRW’s first-ever Halloween masquerade ball at the fabulous old Park Plaza hotel, my mind began to drift.

I would jettison my -dweeb persona on that day, not so far off, and disappear into the writhing dance crowd, losing myself in Bentley’s grooves. Techno. Trip-hop. (If only I knew what that was.)

That fantasy would have to go on hold, though, as I had decided it was time to call Bentley’s bosses with more prosaic concerns — like what’s happening to in L.A. and could your audience be in danger of slipping away?

The question had been raised for some time, most pointedly when last month’s ratings showed three public radio stations — KUSC- (91.5), KPCC- (89.3) and KKJZ- (88.1) — substantially ahead of the once preeminent KCRW- (89.9).

The numbers, and the “Portable People Meter” () the ratings outfit uses to collect them, have been the subject of furious debate nationally among radio programmers for more than a year. Suffice it to say that the bosses at KCRW believe theirs is one of the stations whose listenership is being grossly undercounted.

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