NEW YORK: The Nielsen Company has won radio ratings contracts for two major US broadcasters, Cumulus Media and Clear Channel Radio, a move Steve Morris, president/ceo of rival radio measurement firm Arbitron, declares is "a step backward" for the industry.

Cumulus will use Nielsen's annual ratings service in fifty small and medium-sized markets, and Clear Channel in seventeen, though both companies will continue to utilise Arbitron's measurement tools in more populous areas.

Nielsen's system will begin operation in the third quarter of 2009, using randomly-selected addresses, which the company claims will enable it to reach 34% of households that are ignored by other techniques based on random phone numbers.

The measurement giant also says it has invested significantly in targeting hard-to-reach demographic segments, and will introduce an "electronic diary" to record radio use in 2010.

Arbitron's Morris, however, counters: "Advertisers have told us that radio markets need more than a once-a-year survey in order for stations to maintain accountability and recapture revenue from out-of-home, internet and online media."

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff