The BBC and commercial radio stations are to meet with radio research
body RAJAR this week to discuss the future of RAJAR’s controversial and
discredited new method of measuring audiences.
The new system came under heavy attack last week for being unreliable
after RAJAR admitted that the figures for the fourth quarter of 1995 had
been adjusted to bring them into line with previous quarters’ figures -
an acknowledgement that the industry had lost count of its listeners.
The RAJAR listening figures are crucial for the radio industry, which
uses the data to drive advertising rates and to promote a station’s
strength in the market against rivals.
RAJAR chief executive Roger Gane denied that any damage had been done
and declined to comment on how much the change in the methodology had
RAJAR shifted from a system where over 50,000 survey respondents use
pencils to tick stations in pre-printed diaries to applying coloured
stickers of the stations they listen to.
However, RAJAR found that young people did not always use the stickers,
particularly when they were listening for only short periods of time.
The methodology was changed to take account of the rapidly expanding
number of commercial radio stations which, in London alone, now stands
The BBC, which joined the commercial radio industry in 1992 in the
setting up of RAJAR, the replacement for the previous JICRAR, was
remaining tight-lipped about the fourth quarter data, which shows that
BBC Radio’s share has dropped to 47.2 per cent.
Despite the extra competition, due to the launch of Heart FM, Viva! and
Premier in 1995, Capital Radio managed to maintain its position as the
number one station in London, adding 26,000 listeners in the past three
months and increasing listening hours by 1.4 million. It is still one
million listeners ahead of nearest competitor Radio 4.
Classic FM, which increased its listening hours by nine per cent and its
reach by two per cent to 4.7 million listeners, is the UK’s number one