Nielsen concludes LA radio ratings probe; Univision not sanctioned

Coverage Type: 

Nielsen said it has concluded an investigation into tampering of Los Angeles radio ratings, but stopped short of sanctioning Univision Communications for unethical conduct by a former station executive.

Dramatic swings in ratings in 2014 were primarily isolated to Univision's KSCA-FM (101.9) Spanish-language radio station, Nielsen said after its review of the tainted data. The measurement firm said the breaches did not substantially affect audience levels reported for other stations in the nation's largest radio market.

The probe into possible ratings manipulation was launched after KSCA morning show "El Bueno, La Mala y El Feo" leapfrogged to the No. 1 slot over big names such as KIIS-FM (102.7) morning host Ryan Seacrest. The big jump rattled radio circles because strong ratings help stations fetch more money from the nearly $1 billion spent in LA each year on radio commercials and promotions.

Nielsen found that a high-ranking Univision executive at KSCA had access to several of the devices used to collect listening data. That violated Nielsen's rules, and Univision fired its program director for the alleged misconduct; no other station employees were reprimanded.

LA radio stations were notified that Nielsen would not reissue ratings for 2013 or the first quarter of 2014. Nielsen said there "were minimal differences in the estimates for the overwhelming majority of other stations in the market" and did not discipline Univision.

Nielsen concludes LA radio ratings probe; Univision not sanctioned