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New ratings company to probe Montreal

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Advertising and Ratings
WENATCHEE, Wash. - In its first move outside the United States, radio ratings service Eastlan has reached an agreement to provide an annual radio survey for the West Island area of Montreal.

Eastlan will deploy there on behalf of Martz Communications, which operates a number of American radio stations along the Canada-New York border which broadcast into Canada, such as 94.7 Hits FM, an upstate New York station whose major market is Montreal.

(As reported earlier this year by www.broadcastermagazine.com, Martz Communications is 25%-owned by Toronto's Standard Broadcasting.)

"We weren't looking to come to Canada," Eastlan president Mike Gould told www.broadcastermagazine.com this afternoon, but (Martz Communications president) Tim (Martz) came to us with an idea that made sense and we would like to move forward in Canada, if Canada wants us."

Eastlan typically provides ratings data through phone surveys in smaller markets where U.S. ratings giant Arbitron does not provide data or where smaller stations balk at the cost of purchasing the Arbitron data, says Gould. "We're a niche play. We go where Arbitron can't go."

As an example, Gould pointed out that while Arbitron covers the Hawaiian Island of Oahu, that state's most populous island, it does not provide ratings data on four other regions of Hawaii which Eastlan covers: the islands of Kauai and Maui, as well as the regions of Kona and Hilo, whose markets range in size from 60,000 to 130,000 people, says Gould.

While he has not studied the Canadian radio market in detail, Gould believes Canada has some similar sort of areas where Eastlan might work and that the Montreal West Island ratings "is a bit of a test for us in Canada," he says. He added that Eastlan is not looking to take on BBM here, just looking for similar market niches in Canada, and that he has already been approached by a British Columbia broadcaster, too.

"We're excited about our new relationship with Eastlan", said Martz in a press release. "With two Montreal suburban signals, the bulk of our audience is in the affluent and economically distinct West Island area.

"BBM surveys the entire 3.6 million person Montreal market but does not have the ability to split our specific postal codes, denying us the ability to highlight our geographic strength," Martz continued. "Eastlan offers this critical piece. Additionally, Eastlan's separate Anglo-Franco data will provide our Montreal sales staff with a powerful selling weapon and agencies with a consistent analysis tool.

"Finally, the most significant difference from BBM is the fact that Eastlan shows all stations, not just member stations so media buyers will have a real look at the market for the first time."

Eastlan's initial West Island study will be fielded during the established Spring Canadian survey period of February 16 to April 11, 2004.

Eastlan Resources is privately held media-research firm headquartered in Wenatchee, Washington with offices in Seattle and Portland. Eastlan was formed in 1999 and provides radio audience measurement data to over 300 subscribing radio stations in more than 75 markets across the United States, according to the company. For information, go to www.eastlan.com.
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