Nielsen Says Alexa Snafu Immaterial


SBS COO Albert Rodriguez is accusing CMG/Apollo stations in Tampa and Orlando of deliberately trying to steal listeners. Ratings firm Nielsen doesn’t quite agree with that accusation. Here are the details.

Rodriguez sent out a scathing statement Wednesday, accusing CMG. Apollo of flagrant discrimination. The allegation has to do with smart speakers. Rodriguez says CMG/Apollo, which sold WPYO-FM in Orlando and WSUN-FM in Tampa, was deliberately attempting to prevent listeners from accessing the stations on smart speakers.

According to Nielsen, the voice commands were outdated, but it had little impact on the ratings. Here’s the statement we received from the ratings company: “Like any station-reported technical difficulty, Nielsen discloses details regarding the incident in the appropriate report(s) to inform users of the marketplace condition. As reported in Nielsen’s October 2022 Monthly Radio Market Report, an outdated “Alexa Skill” caused Alexa devices to return incorrect audio streams to voice command users in the Tampa and Orlando markets. In Tampa, Alexa voice command users that requested the call letters “WSUN-FM” were served with the audio of WPOI-HD2, and in Orlando, users that requested the call letters “WPYO-FM” were served the audio of WCFB-HD2.
Nielsen believes the potential effect of the out-of-date Alexa Skills on each stations’ published estimates to be immaterial, and the out-of-date Skills are currently being updated for Alexa devices. Nielsen encourages all stations that change call letters or frequency to update their smart speaker skills and voice commands to reflect those on-air station changes.”

Here’s the full statement from the SBS COO: “SBS is outraged and insulted by the flagrantly discriminatory bias being directed against it by media giant Apollo/CMG, as confirmed for a third time by Nielsen in its official findings of the streaming ratings distortion uncovered recently in Tampa and Orlando. These latest infractions join a list of other improprieties calculated to undermine SBS since it first offered to acquire WPYO-FM in Orlando and WSUN-FM in Tampa from Apollo/CMG in August of 2021. Apollo/CMG’s continued lip-service to the standards of diversity, equity and inclusion, while in actual practice hindering SBS’ operations, is an insult not only to SBS as a respected, four-decade Hispanic owner/operator and FCC licensee in good standing, but to all Hispanics everywhere – AND IT WILL NOT STAND. SBS will vigorously prosecute, to the extent possible and in all appropriate venues, any attempt to subvert, divert, demean or otherwise interfere with its service to the diverse audiences of Central Florida.”



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