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ARCHIVED  November 1, 1997

Arbitron to survey local radio stations

Ratings wars are coming to Northern Colorado.
The Arbitron Co. has recognized Northern Colorado as a separate metro survey area, a move that could mean a substantial increase in advertising revenues for local radio stations.
Arbitron, the nation˜s leading media research firm known for its rating reports for radio stations, has designated Fort Collins-Greeley as one of 268 such markets in the country. The company will survey radio listeners in Larimer and northern Weld counties twice a year, and results of the survey will be made available to Arbitron clients who buy and sell radio advertising.
Recognition of Northern Colorado as a survey area distinct from the Denver metro area and the larger designated metro area that includes portions of several western states came only after six years of lobbying by the Brill Co., which owns K99 and TRI 102 radio stations in Windsor.
Dan Conway, general manager of the two stations, said that Brill, which also owns stations in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri and Minnesota, used renewal of contracts between Arbitron and those stations as leverage to win acknowledgment of a Northern Colorado market.
"Arbitron is like a monopoly," Conway said. "To make it worth their while, they only want to establish a market if several stations in the area want to participate."
Conway said that before the region was designated as a separate survey area, it didn˜t exist as far as many national advertisers were concerned.
"We know that Northern Colorado is a separate entity, a separate market, where people live, work and shop," Conway said. "Now we need to establish that fact on a national and regional basis so we can receive the advertising revenues a market of our size should."
To compare, the Fort Collins-Greeley survey area is ranked 135th out of Arbitron˜s 268 medium and large survey areas and has a radio revenue market of about $6 million, Conway said. The Peoria, Ill., area, previously ranked 135th, tallies about $13 million in radio advertising revenues.
K99 and TRI 102 are now Arbitron clients, as are KCOL, KPAW (The Bear) and KGLL (Country 96 The Eagle), three Fort Collins-based stations recently purchased by Jacor Communications. Jacor, a huge Kentucky-based company with more than 160 stations nationwide, was pleased with Arbitron˜s decision to make Northern Colorado its own market, said Stu Haskell, general manager of the three Jacor stations here.
"Being recognized as a market separate from Denver creates new opportunities for us in terms of revenue," he said. "It helps us substantiate our position and do better from a business standpoint, and it˜s fun to finally get this kind of recognition."
In its survey process, Arbitron selects a random sample group of listeners ostensibly representative of the area˜s population and measures their listening habits. Participants are asked to keep a diary and record listening data at home, in the car and at work or other places for seven days.
The diaries are mailed to the Arbitron Research and Technology Center in Columbia, Md., where the data is compiled and published in the Radio Local Market Report or "The Book," as it is known in the industry.
The report includes station rankings, listener data and qualitative information concerning consumer behavior in a number of key local market retail categories.
Stations are ranked according to quarter-hour shares — the percent of the listening audience that tunes in for at least five minutes in any continuous 15 minute period — and the cume, or cumulative total, of different people who tune in at least once for five minutes at some point during an average week of the survey.
The first survey of the Fort Collins-Greeley area is under way and will continue through Dec. 10. Survey results will be published Jan. 23.
"It˜s a risk," Conway said. "We could fall on our face, but the key is to set ourselves up for long-term growth."

Ratings wars are coming to Northern Colorado.
The Arbitron Co. has recognized Northern Colorado as a separate metro survey area, a move that could mean a substantial increase in advertising revenues for local radio stations.
Arbitron, the nation˜s leading media research firm known for its rating reports for radio stations, has designated Fort Collins-Greeley as one of 268 such markets in the country. The company will survey radio listeners in Larimer and northern Weld counties twice a year, and results of the survey will be made available to Arbitron clients who buy and sell radio advertising.
Recognition of Northern Colorado…

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