15th Annual Edition
'Buying Power of Black America' report breaks down billions in expenditures

Black consumers are responding to tighter economic condition by focusing more of their spending on items and services that improve their homes and lifestyle. That's one of the trends revealed in the 15th annual report, "The Buying Power of Black America," published by Target Market News. The report analyzes spending for black households in 2008 and finds that African-Americans...
Story continued...


 Register Here 
Are you getting the latest industry news when it happens via e-mail

Click here for free delivery of the Target Market News Bulletin
You'll receive news of breaking stories, exclusives, updates and headlines on the latest developments in African American marketing and media

 Black Stats  
Frequently requested data on African American consumers

Black Buying Power:
 $803 Billion (2008)

Black U.S. Population:
 41.1 million

Top Five Black Cities
 - New York
 - Chicago
 - Detroit
 - Philadelphia
 - Houston

Top Five Black Metros:
 - New York-New Jersey
 - Washington-Baltimore
 - Chicago-Gary
 - Los Angeles
 - Philadelphia

Top Five Expenditures:
 - Housing $166.3 bil.
 - Food $65.3 bil.
 - Cars/Trucks $31.5 bil.
 - Clothing $26.9 bil.
 - Health Care $23.9 bil.

Click here for more stats from "The Buying Power of Black America."
Get quick access to key
U.S. Census 
Bureau Data

Click here to go to African-American Census Bureau data


(c) 2010 by
Target Market News Inc.

All rights reserved
Business address:
228 S. Wabash Ave.
Suite 210
Chicago, IL 60604
t.  312-408-1881 

PPM's arrival in Columbus, Ohio has urban radio stations and listeners worried

By Tim Feran
The Columbus Dispatch

(June 15, 2010) Like it or not, radio in Columbus is about to change -- not only in the music that it airs but in the money that is spent on advertising.

And it's all because of a device the size of a cell phone.

The Portable People Meter, known simply as PPM, will be officially introduced into the Columbus market in September by Arbitron Radio Ratings and Media Research.

It's designed to measure listening habits more accurately than the current diary system. That helps determine the kind of music a station plays and, based on audience size, how much it can charge for advertising.

While all this might sound benign, the PPM's arrival in other markets   across the country has left a trail of format changes, shifts in ad spending and allegations of racial bias.

For example, a station in Chicago that was one of the first and most important "smooth jazz" outlets abandoned the format only seven months after PPM was introduced in the city.

"Smooth jazz certainly has not prospered in the PPM era," said Sean Ross, executive editor of music and programming for Radio-Info.com. "A lot of stations have gotten out and not even waited to see what would happen."

While smooth-jazz stations formerly thought that they had a few people who would listen for long stretches, the PPM often shows that the stations were second or third  choice behind a "soft adult contemporary" station such as WSNY (94.7 FM).

Since the mid-1960s, research firm Arbitron has measured audience tastes by asking radio listeners to log what they listen to in paper booklets -- diaries, in radio jargon. That information was presented to stations every three months, and traditionally it has been used to make changes in formats and to set advertising rates.

But radio programmers have for decades complained that the diary system is flawed. They say listeners forget what they heard, accidentally omit a station or even lie about their listening habits.

Then there was the problem of gaining adequate samples of some listener groups. Although more than 2,000 diaries typically are in use in central Ohio each quarter, the number and responsiveness of minorities and young men participating was always considered a problem.

"The diary method was always ludicrous," said Jane Peters, president of Media Management Services, a Columbus marketing and advertising firm. "Men wouldn't fill it out. Young African-American men wouldn't fill it out. You always knew there were reporting errors."

In 2007, Arbitron began replacing the written surveys with the PPM system. The goal was to make the switch in the top 50 markets by the end of 2010. Columbus is the country's 36th-largest radio   market.

The device is worn like a pager and electronically detects and logs a station's signal whenever it is within hearing distance of the signal. Results will be offered to stations on a monthly basis rather than just quarterly.

Arbitron thinks the benefits are obvious: The PPM is much more accurate than the old handwritten logs because it sidesteps the old test-subject problems such as forgetting to write down a station or writing down an incorrect station.

But critics of the PPM say the meters still have problems.

"It's a failed attempt at ratings," said R.P. Hutchison, president of Hutchison Media Consultants, a Columbus   marketing and advertising firm. The problem boils down to numbers, in his view.

"You have to remember they are currently doing 2,400 diaries, four times a year (in central Ohio)," Hutchison said. "Now, you'll have 750 to 800 people meters. I don't think the number can (accurately represent) the market."

Another complaint: the effect of the electronic record-keeping when someone goes shopping at a mall.

"There are some stations they don't know they're listening to, and the meter registers it," said John Crenshaw, director of programming for Clear Channel Columbus. That's the company that owns seven stations in central Ohio, including WTVN (610 AM), WYTS (1230 AM), WCOL (92.3 FM), WLZT (93.3 FM), WNCI (97.9 FM), WBRW   (105.7 FM) and WRXS (106.7 FM).

"If you went to Best Buy and someone has an FM station on, or you went to Great Clips in Gahanna and   they had a station on, it will register. And you don't realize you were listening to whatever they had on."

Such concerns have particularly alarmed minority broadcasters, who have always been concerned about underreporting errors. They think the problems in the new system could lead to less diversity and less competition in the business.

Their concerns are so great and so much money is at stake that Arbitron recently settled a dispute with a coalition of minority broadcasters, agreeing to several improvements that they think will address their concerns.

Arbitron has agreed to redouble its efforts to seek out hard-to-reach listeners, such as young men, by recruiting them in person -- a far better way of pinning down on-the-go young folks who rarely answer their phones.

But even with improvements, the PPM is bound to offer a new image of the radio audience that will affect programming.

"Under the diary system, people would often say they listened to two or three stations in the course of a week, but the meter shows it's actually between four and six," Crenshaw said.

While this is partly because of the walking-in-themall effect, it is also due to the fact that listeners often don't realize how frequently they flip around among popular stations.

What this tends to mean, ad executives and radio programmers say, is that the meters favor stations with larger audiences, while those with smaller audiences -- regardless of the fervor of those listeners -- will be out of luck.

The likely losers?

"The biggest thing we're going to see here is the urban market," said Peters, whose clients in Atlanta and Detroit are already using the people meter ratings.

"We did see in Cincinnati the urban station did drop quite a bit," said Bobbie Termeer, broadcast director at Fahlgren Advertising.

"I think Radio One will really be hurt by this," Peters said, referring to the company that owns WXMG (98.9 FM), WJYD (106.3 FM) and WCKX (107.5 FM). "It's a shame. A lot of people are really upset because this is going to hurt stations that don't pander to the mainstream. It's going to make it harder to have variety on the dial. The nation's media is going to become much more   white bread.

"This is going to have a big impact."

Radio One Columbus operations manager J.D. Kunes, who is also program director for WCKX, was upbeat but cautious in his appraisal of the new ratings.

"I think the big stations are still the big stations," Kunes said. "I think the only thing we can agree to is it's going to be different. We hope we maintain the ratings and the rankings and continue to build on that. But it's tough to say.... because (the diary system) is the only thing we've ever known."

Other stations might be in for a pleasant surprise.

"Classic rock generally does well," Ross said, so a station in that format such as WLVQ (96.3 FM) could benefit.

And a sports station should have "just amazing" ratings on a big game day, said Tom Taylor, executive   news editor at Radio-Info.com. "In Cincinnati, for instance, the opening-day baseball statistics showed over 50 percent of listeners were at WLW."

The upshot is that there could be fewer stations down the road.

The PPM "doesn't like when there are four of anything," Ross said. "So I think Columbus is probably going to have one or two rock stations in a year."

All of this is important to advertisers because they use the ratings to decide where they'll buy commercials and how much they're willing to pay for those commercials.

Columbus was a $69 million radio market in 2009 as reported by Miller, Kaplan, Arase, & Co., although revenue has approached $100 million annually in better days.

Broadcasters, marketing executives and Arbitron officials say that a large part of the solution for worried stations will be in educating advertisers about the new survey methods.

"We know those listeners are still there," Termeer said. "It's a matter of educating the client. All the listeners are still there. We just have a different way of measuring them."

But some still aren't convinced that educating advertisers will help those stations most affected by the meters.

"If you look at Radio One in this market, they've done an excellent job," Peters said. "It's not just African-American listeners they reach. It's young, very vital, under-21 listeners of all races.

"So when their numbers go down now, it's going to hurt them more because it   plays into the stereotypes that it is just African-Americans who listen," she said. "They're going to lose ad revenue, not so much from the agencies, but from the direct clients themselves. If you're a 60-year-old male and don't follow the business closely, you're not going to understand this."

In the midst of so much uncertainty and worry, radio programmers do know one thing: Their lives are about to become far more complicated. .

"There's a sense of pressure on program directors for sure," Taylor said. "What it teaches is that every minute on air counts."

Go to Target Market News homepage

Monique Kersey-Love named editor of BlackTalentNews.com

Black Cable TV Ratings for Week of June 7 - 13 Shifting cable viewing patterns continue with advent of summer shows

KFC unveils plans to increase targeted ad dollars and diversity at PUSH conference

Black TV Ratings for Week of June 7 - 13 NBA Finals' black record-setting audience still at 30% and growing

L.A. Sentinel publisher, Bakewell Media, reaches terms to buy L.A. Watts Times

Andrew Langston, founder and CEO of Rochester, NY station WDKX, dies at 83

Tom Joyner extends his listener reach in Chicago with addition of POWER 92 FM

Tom Burrell, ad pioneer, launches national campaign backing black artists

BMW partners with Jamie Foxx's FoxxHole satellite radio channel

Tri-State Defender newspaper and WMC-TV Action News 5 announce partnership


 $100 Discount Extended!