Radio Ratings Diary

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Please click below for commonly asked questions about the Arbitron Radio Ratings Survey. If you still have questions, please give us a call or send us an email!

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Arbitron Radio Ratings Diary

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Who is Arbitron and what are the “ratings”?

Arbitron was established in 1949 and has been a leader in radio and television research for decades. As media and entertainment options have expanded, so has our research. We measure the radio listening, TV viewing, and other media use of adults, teenagers, and children across the United States. This information is combined with demographic and other information and becomes the “ratings.” The ratings are used by broadcasters to learn more about what programs are being listened to or watched across the country. Media companies, advertisers, and other businesses also rely on this research to make decisions about the products and services they provide.

Arbitron is now Nielsen. While our name is changing, your important role in our ratings and research and the use and protection of your information will not.

Read the press release.

Will you share my information with others?

Arbitron is committed to protecting the information that you provide us. Published research reports do not contain personally identifiable information. When we share information with other companies for research purposes, we require that same protection. Since confidentiality is so important to research, we also ask that you do not discuss your role in Arbitron research with people outside of your household, including people on social media websites such as Facebook or Twitter.

What’s in it for me?

You are one of the very few selected in your area to tell radio stations what you listen to or why you choose not to listen. This information is also important to other media companies, advertisers, and other businesses. This is your chance to help them better serve you! Chances are your home will not be selected again for many years. You will even receive a small token of thanks for helping us out.

What if I don’t listen to the radio?

That’s fine! For any day that you don’t hear radio, just click the box at the top of the page for that day. As a nonlistener, your comments and opinions about why you don’t listen to the radio are still very important. In fact, radio stations are very curious to know why some people don’t listen to the radio as much as others.

How did you choose me?

Arbitron gathers the listening of people across the United States. Since we cannot talk to every person, we choose a random sample of households to speak for the entire population. A computer selects households, much as winning lottery numbers are selected. Every household has an opportunity to be selected. Your participation ensures that the radio research represents the people in your community.

Do you have questions about Arbitron privacy practices?

If you have questions or would like more information about Arbitron privacy practices, please send an email to See our Privacy Statement for details on our data practices.

Will this cost me anything?

Absolutely not!

We don’t want any money from you, but we do want your radio diary. In fact, we send you a “thank you” reward once you submit your diary.

Why do radio stations care what I listen to?

Because they want to please you and keep you as a listener!

When you turn on your radio, the stations don’t know what you’re listening to. So, you tell us—and we tell them. That way, your stations can continue to program the things you want to hear.

Can the other people in my household keep a diary as well?


We need to know what everyone in your home—age 13 or older—listens to each day for one week. When you register your household online, each person age 13 or older will be given an opportunity to participate in the ratings.

What happens to my radio diary after I submit it to Arbitron?

We combine your radio listening with that from all the other diarykeepers in your area who were selected to participate in the ratings. Then, we publish the results in a report for the radio stations in your area. Often, with our permission, the entertainment section of your local newspaper will have some of the results.

Can I call you and tell you over the phone what I listen to?

Unfortunately, no.

Entering your listening in the online radio diary is a more reliable way for the stations to get this information, and it only takes a few minutes a day. Also, there is a section for you to include your comments—radio stations really look forward to receiving audience feedback.

Can anyone participate in the radio ratings?

Unfortunately, no.

We randomly select a percentage of households to represent the people in your area. Your household was selected to participate in the ratings period coming up. Therefore, what you are about to tell the radio stations is pretty powerful.

Can I participate if I work for the broadcast media?

Sorry, no.

In order to keep the survey unbiased and honest, we cannot include anyone in the ratings who works for a radio station, a cable system or network, or a TV station or network

Can I participate in the radio ratings again?

Chances are your home will not be selected again for many years.

It’s nothing personal; it’s just random selection. In fact, you may never have another chance to participate.

What if I only hear a station for a couple of minutes?

Only record stations that you listen to for at least five minutes.

How do I record my listening if I’ve switched stations a lot?

If you know the start and stop time for each station, please enter each station separately. If you don’t know the start and stop time, and if you heard multiple stations in one listening episode, please list all stations on one line (WAAA, WBBB, WCCC).

What about when I listen to radio on the Internet, over cable, or via satellite radio? How do I record that?

You would record that listening just like you would for any other type of radio. See illustration below.

Sample Diary Page

Can I opt out of participating in the Arbitron Radio Ratings?


If you would like to opt out of participating in the radio ratings, please call us toll-free at 1-800-798-3065 and mention the “Online Radio Ratings Diary.”

Can I use my smartphone to enter my listening in my Radio Ratings Diary?

Yes, but only if you currently have an iPhone® or Android™ smartphone. We are currently supporting the following applications:

  • Mobile Safari® on iPhone and iPod Touch® (iOS version 3.1 and up)
  • Android browser on Android version 2.1 and up
Why do I get an error message when I try to use my smartphone to log in to my Radio Ratings Diary?

We are currently only supporting mobile Safari on iPhone and iPod touch (iOS version 3.1 and up) and Android browser on Android version 2.1 and up.

Why do you need age, sex, and race/ethnicity information?

We want to make sure that we represent the population in your area. Your responses will be combined with the responses of others to better understand the radio marketplace.

“Thank You” Gift Cards

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How can I contact if I have questions about the Gift Cards?

Please visit the website for information.

“Thank You” Visa® Prepaid Card

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How and when will I receive my “thank you” Visa® Prepaid Card for completing my diary?

Each household member who completes and submits his/her diary within three weeks of the “Finish” date for his/her survey week will receive a Visa® Prepaid card for his/her participation. Cards will be mailed within two to three weeks of diary submission.

In order to receive your thank you reward, you must be a registered Arbitron Ratings Diary recipient and submit your completed online diary to Arbitron Ratings within three weeks of the “Finish” date, which is indicated in your online diary. Your reward will be a Visa® Prepaid Card. The prepaid card is subject to terms and conditions, which you will receive with the card. An individual prepaid card will be issued for each household member whose diary is received by Arbitron Ratings within three weeks of the “Finish” date. All prepaid card mailings will be sent to the contact person at the household address. Distribution of the prepaid cards will be the responsibility of the household contact person. Prepaid cards may be mailed by a third-party vendor who will not try to sell you anything or ask you for money or sell/add your name/address to a mailing list. Prepaid cards will be shipped approximately two to three weeks after Arbitron Ratings receives your completed radio ratings diary. Arbitron is not responsible for lost, late, damaged, or misdirected mail or for delays associated with your diary submission. LIMIT ONE DIARY SUBMISSION AND ONE PREPAID CARD PER PERSON. No substitutions, except by Arbitron, which reserves the right to substitute a thank you reward of comparable value. Duplicate returned diaries will constitute fraud. Theft, diversion, reproduction, transfer, sale or, purchase of the prepaid card offer or the online diary is prohibited and constitutes fraud. Void where taxed, restricted, or prohibited. Diary must be completed and submitted during the relevant diary period. Arbitron reserves the right to verify identification and to disqualify any person it believes, in its sole discretion, to be violating these terms. Visa® does not endorse or sponsor this offer.

Where can I use the Visa® Prepaid Card?

You can use the card to make purchases at any retail establishment that accepts Visa®.

How long is the Visa® Prepaid Card valid?

The prepaid card is valid from receipt to the last day of the month of the expiration date embossed on the front of the card.

What does the expiration date embossed on the front of the Visa® Prepaid Card mean?

Expiration date is the date after which the card use may be terminated. Upon expiration of the card, any unused value will be forfeited.

I had an unused dollar amount in the Visa® Prepaid Card that expired. What can I do?

Upon expiration of the card, any unused value is forfeited.

How does the Visa® Prepaid Card work?

When you use this card, the amount of the purchases plus any fees will be deducted from the unused monetary value on this card. If your transactions exceed the value on the card, you will have to pay the amount in excess plus a fee.

Why was my transaction declined?

If the amount of value available is not sufficient to cover your purchase, the transaction will be declined.

What can I do if my Visa® Prepaid Card was declined due to insufficient funds?

Some retailers may allow you to use two forms of payment for a purchase. For purchases exceeding the card balance, pay the difference by other means first (check, cash, credit card), then use this card.

How can I find out the balance amount on my Visa® Prepaid Card?

You may obtain real-time transaction and balance information by accessing the customer service website at or by calling customer support at 1-866-230-3809.

What should I do if my Visa® Prepaid Card is lost or stolen?

In the event of loss, immediately call the customer support center at 1-866-230-3809. Your card will be closed and blocked from future purchases. We will reissue you a new card for the unused balance less a $10 reissue fee.

How can I use this Visa® Prepaid Card to pay for gasoline?

Purchases for gasoline must be paid for at the cashier desk. Your card cannot be used for “Pay at the Pump” transactions to purchase gasoline

The front of my Visa® Prepaid Card says “DEBIT.” What is my PIN number?

Even though the front of your Card says “DEBIT,” please select “CREDIT” if asked to choose. Your card is signature based and does not have a PIN.

Can I use this Visa® Prepaid Card to withdraw cash at an ATM?

No. This card has no cash access. You can only use it to make purchases.

How much is my Visa® Prepaid Card worth?

Your card is valid for the dollar amount printed on the front of the card. No additional value may be added to the card.

Who can use my Visa® Prepaid Card?

Your prepaid card is like cash and could be used by anyone who holds it. If your name is not embossed on the front of the card, please take extra precautions.

What precautions can I take against theft of my Visa® Prepaid Card?

Please write down your card number and keep it in a safe place. In the event of loss, immediately call the customer support center at 1-866-230-3809.

Can I use this Visa® Prepaid Card to make an Internet purchase?


What billing address can I use while making an Internet purchase?

You may provide the address that is printed on the front of the card carrier as the billing address while making an Internet purchase.

Can I use my address as the billing address while making an Internet purchase?

No. Please use the address printed on the front of the card carrier as the billing address.

Additional Questions

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How can I contact Arbitron if I have additional questions about the survey?

You can reach us by phone, email, or regular mail.

If you have any questions about this survey, you can call us toll-free at 1-800-798-3065 and mention the “Online Radio Ratings Diary.” You can also email us your questions and comments at

Or you can send us regular mail at:
Arbitron Ratings
Online Radio Rating Study
9705 Patuxent Woods Drive
Columbia, MD 21046-1521

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