Nielsen has taken the rare action of de-listing a pair of stations in Toledo after discovering that a household of a staff member from the stations “obtained and returned” ratings diaries for the September 2020 Toledo survey. The stations removed from the Toledo book are Urban Radio Broadcasting adult R&B “Mix 95.7” WIMX and hip-hop/R&B sister “Hot 97.3” WJZE.
In a notification sent to clients Thursday, Nielsen said it caught the infraction and pulled the tainted diaries from its sample before releasing the September ratings. That means estimates for other stations weren’t affected. “The diaries did not meet Nielsen’s quality standards, and had been removed from the diary sample prior to release of the September 2020 Toledo Radio Market Report,” the company said.
Monthly ratings in continuously measured diary markets are based on a three-month average. The September survey averages data from July, August and September. Since the September listening data is also included in the next two monthly samples, Nielsen says it will be delisting the two stations in the October 2020 (August/September/October) and November 2020 (September/October/November) market reports for Toledo.
Delisting a station is one of the most serious actions Nielsen can take against a subscribing client for violating its ratings distortion policy. “Nielsen expressly prohibits participation in its ratings surveys by any household associated with a radio station,” the company reminds subscribers in the client notification.
It’s the second time it has delisted a stations this year. After discovering that a household of a staff member of Sun Broadcasting rhythmic CHR “Fly 98.5” WFFY Ft. Myers-Naples obtained and returned ratings diaries for the May survey, Nielsen delisted the station for the May, June and July ratings. In 2017 it delisted Alpine Broadcasting’s “Wave 101” WAVV in the same Florida market after turning up “evidence that [a] household of WAVV corporate executives obtained and returned Summer 2017 survey diaries for inclusion in this book.”
In fall 2015, it famously delisted Beasley Media Group rocker “Bubba 98.7” WBRN-FM Tampa for two monthlies citing “further evidence of panel tampering attempts” by syndicated morning man Bubba “The Love Sponge” Clem.
Subscribers can get a refresher on the company’s media affiliation policy by downloading Nielsen’s Rating Distortion Handbook.