Meruelo Media

Meruelo Media, owner of four FM stations in Los Angeles, has stopped subscribing to Nielsen’s PPM ratings service, effective with the Holiday survey. That means ratings for heritage rocker KLOS (95.5), rhythmic CHR “Power 106” KPWR, classic hip-hop KDAY (93.5), and Spanish CHR “Cali 93.9” KLLI no longer appear in published ratings reports. More significantly, Nielsen will no longer include listening data for Meruelo stations in the summary dataset that fuels the major buying systems used by agencies and advertisers, per its Subscriber First policy adopted in 2020.

Nielsen notified its L.A. subscribers of the change in a letter this week.

While it’s not unusual for ownership groups in small markets to go without ratings, it is far less common in PPM-measured markets, especially radio’s richest ad market. Among Meruelo Media’s L.A. portfolio are high profile outlets like “Power 106,” one of America’s first hip-hop stations, and KLOS, one of the country’s longest running rock stations.

In L.A. there are more than 15 different subscribers to Nielsen radio ratings.

As of November 2020, shortly before the controversial Subscriber First policy went into effect, Nielsen’s penetration rate among the top 20 ranked stations in PPM markets was 97%, appreciably higher than in its diary-measured markets.

The Subscriber First policy change went into effect in January 2021 for PPM markets, in April 2021 for continuously measured diary markets and with the release of the spring 2021 survey data for two-book-a-year diary markets. Critics have said the policy gives media buyers an incomplete picture of the market since the data no longer reflects all the listening that occurs in the market.