August 23, 2008

One for 640

Justin Katz

People apparently take radio show ratings seriously. I suppose that should be obvious, but especially on as anonymous a medium as radio waves transmitted indiscriminately over the air, I've never understood how anybody can state with confidence the number of listeners to any given show.

That said, I'm a little bit surprised that the Arbitron diary scandal hasn't had greater repercussions for John DePetro. Although, the news that a handful of surveys could make that much difference is striking enough that the "my wife didn't realize the impact" excuse is not wholly implausible.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

I don't understand why they let him in the door and I certainly don't understand why they let him stay. He's just horrible. Just listen to him on any given morning. Nobody is as funny as him (he HATES Jon Stewart). Nobody is as smart as him. And he goes out of his way to mispronounce guest's names. He treats his production team like indentured servants. He's just a jag-off and if I were driving through the state and tuned him in for the first time I would assume that Rhode Islanders like listening to a douchebag deliver their morning news.

And anybody who believes for an instant that he had no idea is a moron. How many books did his wife send in? How many people LIVE in that house? She had to know what she was doing was blatant fraud and he had to know.

Posted by: Greg at August 23, 2008 4:08 PM

None of it makes any sense. The fact that any one person could make that much of a difference, that he didn't know about it and tha Arbitron doesn't perform due dilligence in vetting people for ratings data. From 4th place to 9th place because of one person. Makes one wonder if the comments that only 15 people listen to talk radio is true!

Posted by: bobc at August 23, 2008 4:45 PM

I liked listening to DePetro back when he was covering Buddy. I suppose I liked listening because Buddy was an arrogant blowhard and it was fun watching someone tweak him. But without Buddy around, John DePetro is the one who comes off as the arrogant blowhard.

DePetro needs to find another Buddy.

Posted by: Anthony at August 23, 2008 5:30 PM

This is tangential, but I noted that for the purpose of ratings, the WPRO AM and FM signal are treated as separate entities. I wonder if their combined "reach" equates to that which was solely WPRO AM's prior to the FM signal being appropriated (after the demise of the SCORE). Maybe their combined rating even surpasses the old one. Don't know.

As for DePetro, I don't listen to his show much because it's simply too choppy. He has virtually no calls until the 9 O'clock hour, his guests duck in for 1 or 2 minutes max and there are so many sponsor spots to hit and read, there seems to be little flow to the show. The only segment I try to listen to is the 6 1/2 minutes of news at the top and bottom, and that's not DePetro's gig. Perhaps this is all just a function of AM Drive time radio, but it doesn't appeal to me.

Neither does "Sinatra Radio" for that matter.

Posted by: Marc at August 23, 2008 8:25 PM

You are really squirming on this one. The double negative, "Not wholly implausible" is a long way around Robin Hood's barn just to avoid saying that it "is plausible".

Next is "mistakes were made"?

OldTimeLefty Justin,
You are really squirming on this one. The double negative, "Not wholly implausible" is a long way around Robin Hood's barn just to avoid saying that it "is plausible".

What's next, the passive voice's, "mistakes were made"?


Posted by: OldTimeLefty at August 23, 2008 11:18 PM

Can anybody suggest a good divorce lawyer for Mrs. D.?
I could entirely see a hateful, spiteful guy like DePetro throwing his wife under the bus. And I feel sorry for those kids of his, too...some male role model they have in the house.
DePetro's mentality can best be summed up thus: he blew his career in Boston on a homophobic attack on a candidate he felt threatened by. Grace Ross, who somehow got John all hot and bothered, received a grand total of 1 percent of the vote in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Imagine what he would've done if Deval Patrick had been gay.
If I were his sister, I wouldn't allow him within 10 miles of my campaign.

Posted by: rhody at August 24, 2008 12:06 AM

One can only imagine I'm squirming if one imagines I'm somehow invested in the story. In actuality, it isn't all that important to me.

I used the conspicuous double negative because the obvious reaction to DePetro's claim of spousal ignorance is "yeah right." It is only because of surprise at the power of each diary — I even italicized "that much" — that the obvious reaction is mitigated.



So anonymous; so small. So when did you stop beating your wife?

More comments like that, and I'll be inclined to deprive you of whatever pleasure you've derived from commenting here.

Posted by: Justin Katz at August 24, 2008 8:06 AM

how many people know that their spouse has a secret lover, has racked up thousands on credit cards, spent family savings,kept secrets etc,etc,etc

its not right but happens all the time

Posted by: johnpaycheck at August 24, 2008 8:11 AM


Your blog advertises with a large banner one of WPRO's right wing talk show hosts , Matt Allen. There are frequent references made by AR contributors to that radio stations other hosts, Dan Yorke being one. One of your contributors frequently calls WPRO using a pseudonym always in agreement with the usual anti- union democrat illegal general assembly rant thats heard from those "radio waves transmitted indiscriminately over the air". You and all your contributors (pseudonyms aside) have a weekly time slot on the Matt Allen show which is promoted on your blog. The ratings scandal that has been prominently covered by NBC10 and ABC6 has not been mentioned by either AR until your insipid remarks to which I wtite or WPRO. This is a major embarrassment for WPRO who have chose not to inform the public over the air. (those indiscriminate waves) WPRO's so-called news division or all their talk radio hosts who normally feed on any local controversy are mute. WPRO did put out some written statements but nothing over the air. Isn't "over the air" what a radio station does?
Given the lack of integrity demonstrated by WPRO's refusal to deal openly with this controvesy will AR continue its association with them?

Posted by: Phil at August 24, 2008 9:17 AM


No less than three times did I hear the new announcer mention the Arbitron issue and that the complete statement was on the website and he then gave the address.

Would I like to have had them address it with Paul G. doing the morning show and announcing at the top of every hour that they $hitcanned Dippy? Yes. But to say they ignored it is a lie.

Posted by: Greg at August 24, 2008 9:24 AM

Ditto what Greg said, Phil. WPRO has repeatedly referred to the incident during their news bulletins and directed listeners to their website to view a statement.

Side note: the solution to your being underinformed on this matter is for you to listen to WPRO more regularly and make a point of visiting their website a couple of times a day. [Justin, that comment gets me a corporate overlord bonus this week, doesn't it?]

Now that we've established that WPRO responded to this incident with integrity (as you have defined it), Phil, the answer to the second part of your question is self-evident.

As for your reference to callers using pseudonyms, I simply have no idea what you are talking about ...

Posted by: Monique at August 24, 2008 10:05 AM


Now you're answering to yet another name. I specificly asked Justin for a response. As to your suggestion that I listen to WPRO more regularly.... Do you dislike me that much! Maybe next you'll suggest that I listen to 109 minutes of Depetro's show with his wife and fill out one of her fraudulent Abriton diaries.

Posted by: Phil at August 24, 2008 10:43 AM

Phil-AR carries the banner of the Matt Allen show where they do indeed have a time slot,albeit short,on his show each week.
The Phoenix also has a slot on both the Buddy Cianci show and Dan Yorke-Philippe and Jorge(Rudy Cheeks&Chip Young) or Steve Brown(no,not the ACLU twerp) appear with Buddy and Ian Donnis with Dan-I don't know a thing about this Steve Brown,but neither Cheeks,Young,nor donnis are even remotely right wing-the first two are pretty far left and Donnis is somewhat left of center on many issues,although not on all.
The point being that WPRO is being more than fair.
One more thing-Matt Allen and John Depetro have nothing to do with each other,so don't lay John's potential misdeeds on Matt.Matt is responsible only for the content of the show or shows he hosts.

Posted by: joe bernstein at August 24, 2008 4:38 PM

It makes me wonder that all of right-wing Republican media for many years now may very well have been using the fraudulent access to ratings results just exposed in RI broadcasting. Books written by the likes of Sean Hannity and Jerome Corsi become best sellers through book buyouts and other fraudulent means. If, as Justin suggests, such a small sampling as 6 could create such a large affect in local radio broadcasting ratings, I think we need to look at how the right wing broadcasters have grabbed their huge share of radio. As Justin points out, it is well in the plausible deniability range to claim even when we( WPRO – or other rw media) get caught red- handed- it does not mean we have affected anything. Therefore not guilty. Kind of like saying you are fair and balanced. I thought moral relativism was one of your nono’s.

Posted by: David at August 24, 2008 9:02 PM

Let's be fair, David: Similar issues dog media of all kinds and across the ideological spectrum. It only took my very first steps into understanding how to interpret such things as "circulation" and advertising "imprints" to learn to take all such claims skeptically. (Funny that it wouldn't seem as egregious, somehow, for the spouse of an author to go out and buy six copies of his book and give it high ratings in every forum possible.)

As for the plausibility deniability, I said that it's moderately plausible that Mrs. DePetro didn't realize the impact beforehand. (The difference is that the impact is now clear.) I also expressed surprise that the repercussions for Mr. DePetro haven't been greater.

Posted by: Justin Katz at August 24, 2008 9:16 PM

Justin, just what is your problem?
Did I use improper language, or threaten anybody, as has been done by several posters here in the past? There have been much, much, MUCH more insulting posts (some of them directed at me, which I accept as part of the game here) that have not drawn this extreme a recation.
Grow some thicker skin, my friend.

Posted by: rhody at August 24, 2008 10:21 PM

"I think we need to look at how the right wing broadcasters have grabbed their huge share of radio."

We wouldn't have to look far. For good or ill, David, the ultimate determination of a successful radio program is its commercial viability. Pun intended. If companies purchase ads on a particular show and it makes their product sell, they'll keep buying ad time on that show. If their product does not sell, they will quickly stop buying ad time. If no one buys ads, the show is cut.

In short, no commercially unviable show would last long no matter how elaborately its Arbitron ratings are manipulated. As long as crass commercialism is the determinant of a radio show's success, you don't need to worry that some vast conspiracy keeps shows of a particular slant on the air.

Posted by: Monique at August 24, 2008 10:49 PM

David's conspiracy points aside, I think the plausible ignorance theory doesn't hold water. Regardless of the impact, you cannot maintain your integrity knowing full well that you are disproportionately affecting ratings. It's like voting 3 times in a statewide election (only with less impact as Depetro's ratings took a significant hit without his wife's ratings boost). The Projo article tried linking this to American Idol, but radio ratings used by advertisers to sponsor radio programs are a far different thing than selecting Justin or Kelly.

In the end, this may just be the beginning of the end for John Depetro (never liked his style much, personally). Even if WPRO only slaps him on the wrist, listeners may make their own decisions and decide to stop listening altogether.

Posted by: don roach at August 25, 2008 4:54 AM


The fact that you're anonymous substantially diminishes your claims to offense. Especially with reference to the comment to which I objected.

Speculation about DePetro's family life is ugly and offensive. Speculation about your family life would be imaginary.

I'd say that your comment is beneath you, but since I don't know who you are, I suppose it mightn't be.

Posted by: Justin Katz at August 25, 2008 7:46 AM

You just speculated about my family above, so don't try to play that game.
There's a big difference: DePetro is a public figure who uses the airwaves to insult and belittle people, be they elected officials or ordinary working people, and attempt to ruin careers. And he makes a nice piece of change for doing so. And he's the person who dragged his family into this mess (now why would I want to attack his family)?
I will tell you this much. I am not an elected public official or radio talk show caller (well, I did call Yorke once about an issue involving a mayoral race, and I actually AGREED with him). I am not a public employee - I make my living in the private sector. The views I give here do not represent either my family or my employer - they're entirely my own.
Essentially, your declaring jihad on me personally when DePetro's behavior is the issue here is a waste of your time, mine, and everybody else's here.
However, I recognize this is your forum, and if you feel readers' interest is best served by threadjacking to carry out your own personal vendettas, that's your call.

Posted by: rhody at August 25, 2008 11:11 AM

Rhody Don't bother with Justin. He does not answer questions or allows Monique and her multiple personalities to intercede.

Posted by: Phil at August 26, 2008 5:44 AM

Oh, Phil, I'm sorry if I haven't paid you enough attention. I'm a very busy guy with pressing concerns. In this instance, I decided that if Rhody is going to pretend that my above response to him was tantamount to a "jihad," he's too full of himself to merit bickering.

Posted by: Justin Katz at August 26, 2008 5:49 AM

Phil, it has become personal, personal enough for him to defend indefensible behavior like a public figure victimizing one's spouse (as he implied I do mine).
Actually, I take a sort of perverse pride at being just an ordinary guy who has risen to the top of his S-list ahead of people who are much more famous and powerful.

Posted by: rhody at August 26, 2008 11:26 AM

I'm just sitting by the sidelines thinking, Dang, What is with you? It's painfully obvious that you did not get the wife-beating joke (It's been around probably longer than you have). As for attacking your family, no one knows who your family is or even if you have one. Your like the guy who goes out to bars on the weekends just to provoke a fight. As for me, I'm bobc, have always been bobc and am definitely NOT some alter ego of anyone.

Posted by: bobc at August 26, 2008 12:08 PM

Your obsession with someone who does not hold any kind of powerful or policymaking position continues.
If I aggravate you more than Crowley or Walsh (or anybody who holds any kind of real power), well, that's truly scary. 'Nuff said.

Posted by: rhody at August 26, 2008 12:22 PM

Crowley lives to aggravate.He has the second hat at NEA.People in that position in any organization are the pitbulls.
It gives the first hat guys like Walsh a chance to appear more reasonable.
This setup is not peculiar to NEA or any other group or institution.
The deputy(insert title here)is always the one who tries to cram their foot up your ass.

Posted by: joe bernstein at August 26, 2008 5:45 PM
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