DePetro claims ignorance of wife's ratings assist

Could John DePetro not really know that his wife filled out the Arbitron ratings diaries that gave WPRO a temporary ratings boost? That's the question being asked today by many Rhode Islanders.

According to the ProJo:

John [DePetro] states that he did not have knowledge of her actions,” Citadel Broadcasting market manager Barbara Haynes said in a news release. Citadel owns WPRO. “WPRO AM Program Director Paul Giammarco and I are profoundly disappointed by John’s wife’s actions.”

“It’s embarrassing all the way around,” John DePetro, 44, said last night. “I don’t have a lot to add. My wife was asked to take part in a radio survey, she did and she shouldn’t have. It was wrong.”

He continued, “It’s not like American Idol. She didn’t realize the impact [her participation] would have.”

In the popular reality show American Idol, people call — sometimes multiple times — to help keep their favorite singers in the competition. The winner gets a contract and instant fame.

Each radio diary counts as 640 listeners, said an Arbitron spokeswoman. According to WPRO, Kristen DePetro, 43, submitted six diaries, representing 3,840 listeners.

In a statement, Jim Corwin, VP-GM of Clear Channel Radio-Providence, which owns competitor WHJJ, said:

We are shocked and disappointed at today’s news that fraudulent ratings diaries have come from the home of an on-air personality at WPRO. Arbitron ratings are an important part of our business and it is disheartening to learn that a competitor may have had the ability to influence their outcome.
Ratings are a vital tool that help us make important decisions effecting our stations, our advertisers and our listeners.  We appreciate the efforts of the Arbitron Company to rectify this situation and release accurate, non-biased ratings in a timely manner.

WPRO (on which Phoenix contributors, including myself, regularly appear) released the following statement:

“WPRO AM Program Director Paul Giammarco and I are profoundly disappointed by John’s wife’s actions,” Citadel Broadcasting Market Manager Barbara Haynes said.  

The corrected Spring Arbitron Ratings Survey was released on Monday, August 11, 2008. The audience measurement of WPRO AM and all Providence radio stations are now confirmed to be accurate by Arbitron.  WPRO AM’s John DePetro and the morning news is the most listened to morning show in total audience 12+, Monday-Friday 6A-10A. WPRO AM is tied for #2 in 12+ total weekly audience, Monday – Sunday 6A-12M. 

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