Four of the country's major Hispanic radio groups – Entravision Radio, Spanish Broadcasting System, Univision Radio and Border Media Partners – have united to form the Spanish Radio Association, an industry-focused committee that will address concerns about the rollout of Arbitron's Portable People Meter and its potential harm to the Hispanic marketplace.

This union comes only weeks after SBS hired New York-based strategic communications and consulting firm MirRam Group to run a campaign to raise awareness among Latinos on the impact the PPM service could have on the Hispanic community.

SBS president/CEO Raul Alarcon Jr., Univision Radio president/COO Gary Stone, Entravision Radio president Jeff Liberman and BMP CEO Jeff Hinson held the first SRA meeting on June 6. Also present was Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who said that PPM would not only impact Spanish-language radio but all Hispanics in the country.

Among the issues the SRA feels Arbitron has to address before moving forward with PPM in heavy Hispanic markets like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and San Jose are panel sample size, response rate increase, identifying and tracking a panelist's country of origin, language weighting, cell-phone-only usage, fair measurement of high-density Hispanic areas, sharing sample information, meter placement according to ZIP code and undocumented versus documented listeners.

"Ensuring that the next generation of audience measurement is accurately developed, tested, accredited and ultimately accepted by the entire radio industry is of critical importance," said Alarcon. "The Hispanic population in the U.S. is growing rapidly and becoming more influential, while Spanish-language radio is becoming one of the most popular formats in the country. With that in mind, Arbitron must take the necessary steps toward understanding the impact this audience-measurement tool will have on one of the industry's most important constituencies, and it must insure a proper and valid measurement of the Hispanic radio audience."

Liberman said, "Hispanic buying power is growing substantially and was estimated to be in excess of $840 billion in the United States in 2007. Based on this growth, it is extremely important that Arbitron ensures sound methodology and representation of Hispanics. We urge Arbitron not to move forward with the rollout of PPM until all ethnic broadcasters are satisfied that the principles of fair market representation are being fulfilled."

Stone commented, "We are 100% committed to ensuring accountability to advertisers, viewers and partners. However, this means we need to have accurate and actionable data. It is imperative that Arbitron ensures PPM effectively measures all audience segments before implementation. Any inaccuracy will impact the entire industry as it will not be reliable or credible."

"Arbitron has great respect and appreciation for the important and unique role that Spanish language radio stations play in communities across the country," Arbitron spokesperson Jessica Benbow told R&R in response to the creation of SRA. "We are working closely with Hispanic broadcasters to understand better their priorities for enhancements to our PPM services. We believe the Arbitron Portable People Meter is a reliable and valuable audience research tool that can benefit all segments of the radio industry. Hispanics today are well represented in our PPM panels, by age, by geography and by language preference. We appreciate the time that Hispanic broadcasters have devoted to this dialogue. We look forward to the further exchange of ideas and to adding the insights of Spanish-language broadcasters into our continuous improvement programs for the PPM."