Crystal Darkness – Arizona

Nielsen ratings, the internationally accepted standard for measuring what audiences are watching on their televisions, recorded an astounding market share of 49 in the Phoenix designated market area (DMA) alone. For those not in the broadcast industry this figure indicates that during the two time periods Crystal Darkness aired on April 15, 49 percent of the households in the Phoenix DMA were tuned in to the meth prevention program. The 49 share translates in to roughly 472,000 households watching the program.

Both the Tucson and Yuma DMAs do not record Nielsen ratings. If they followed viewing trends in Phoenix, an estimated 619,000 households in the three markets would have been tuned in to Crystal Darkness. This does not include viewers in many of the other participating rural regions of the state.

These figures place Crystal Darkness as the third most-watched program in Arizona in 2008, just behind the Super Bowl and NFC Championship in ratings. In addition, the ratings are only a measure of the households watching the program and do not include figures for the dozens of viewing parties at high schools, town halls, churches and substance abuse recovery facilities across the state.

“The cooperation and participation from the entire broadcast community in Arizona coupled with all the individuals who organized watch parties helped make Crystal Darkness a tremendous success,” said Art Brooks, President of the Arizona Broadcasters Association and Co-Chairman for the campaign.

In addition to household figures, Nielsen ratings estimate each household in Arizona represents 2.67 persons. Coupled with viewers at watch parties, campaign officials estimate an astounding amount of Arizonans watched and participated in the program.

“Based on information from campaign officials, we believe at least 1.5 million people in Arizona viewed, heard, read or attended gatherings about Crystal Darkness last night,” said Commander Chris Crockett of the Public Affairs Bureau at Phoenix PD.

The Nielsen ratings also do not measure the number of residents listening to the program over the radio on any of the dozens of radio stations that broadcasted it last night and the one-hour panel discussion from 7:00 – 8:00p.m. that followed.

Campaign officials were thrilled with the success of the program and the number of Arizonans it reached.

“Our goal from day one was that if we could reach out to only one person and prevent them from using Crystal Meth, we would have succeeded,” said Gordon James, President of Gordon C. James Public Relations and Co-Chairman for the campaign. “I think we did that and much more last night.”

“The children found help last night,” said Childhelp Co-Founders Sara O’Meara and Yvonne Fedderson. “We are so pleased to have this chance to reach out and touch so many people, to bring the light to so many of the wrongs with drug use and to help heal those wrapped in its terrible hold.”

Childhelp was the presenting sponsor of the Arizona Crystal Darkness program and operator of its hotline. The non-profit has plans to maintain the hotline in Arizona for years to come and to bring the Crystal Darkness program across the nation.

About Arizona Crystal Darkness
On April 15, 2008, from 6:30p.m. – 7:00p.m. nearly every network-affiliated and independent Arizona television station simultaneously broadcasted a shocking and in-depth documentary on the dangers of Crystal Meth. Spanish-language stations aired the program from 5:00p.m. – 5:30p.m.

Crystal Darkness is told through the powerful testimonies of young people who have gone through the dark and lonely depths of Meth addiction. With heart wrenching and raw honesty, they speak to their generation with an unforgettable message of warning. The program is targeted for youths and their parents, but the message extends with conviction to an entire community and throughout the nation.

All participating television and radio stations donated the half-hour time period and preempted their regularly scheduled programming in order to air the commercial-free program. The Crystal Darkness Campaign is a unique collaboration between local media, schools, law enforcement, recovery specialists, faith organizations and the business community. These organizations work together to help victims, create awareness and prevent drug use.

The program is sponsored by Childhelp, a national child abuse prevention and treatment non-profit organization. Childhelp is responsible for maintaining the program’s hotline, 1-888-METH-AID, in addition to their own child abuse hotline, 1-800-4-A-CHILD. The non-profit organization reports over two-thirds of the cases of child abuse it handles have a direct correlation to meth use or production by the child’s parents or guardian.


Heather Defrancesco