Arbitron CEO Skarzynski Resigns

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Metrics are crucial to those of us in the radio industry. In commercial radio, your revenue stream is ad revenue and ad buys are based on metrics.

It was, therefore, a major item of interest Monday when the CEO of Arbitron, who provide ratings data for a large percentage of American radio and advertising concerns, suddenly resigned without any forewarning. Immediately in the wake of this event, questions were raised about the veracity of his recent testimony before Congress. Paul Farhi, a staff writer at The Washington Post, reports:

[Michael P.] Skarzynski’s resignation comes six weeks after he testified about the PPM system in a hearing before a congressional subcommittee. The panel’s chairman, Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), said Monday that Skarzynski may have “intentionally misled” the panel. Congressional sources said that the resignation was related to Skarzynski’s testimony and that subcommittee staff members were reviewing the transcript.

Arbitron has had a rather rough year or two. While their new Portable People Meter (PPM) system has been embattled on several fronts, the economic recession hit, and just at a time when they were increasing their prices. On top of that, Nielsen, long at the top in the TV metrics field, has been diving into the radio metrics end of the pool. As a matter of fact, Nielsen has already taken two major clients away from Arbitron in several markets: Cumulus and Clear Channel.

RadioInk brings us a bit of info on Skarzynski’s repacement:

[William] Kerr has been on Arbitron’s board since 2007 and has chaired the board at Meredith — which publishes magazines and other special-interest publications and operates local TV stations — since 2006, having served on its board since 1994. He was Meredith’s CEO from 1996-2007 and before that was president/COO.

On the good side, it seems as though Kerr is a set of able hands in just the right place and time. No matter the real reason for Skarzynski’s departure, its abrupt nature will be sure to make waves. It would behoove all radio concerns to keep an eye on how this situation develops over the course of 2010.

Image: Arbitron Logo / Fair Use: reporting

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