The Rajar board has decided to abandon its new research system, reverting to old-style Rajar diaries until the current Rajar contract expires in two years’ time.
Radio stations insist that the move does not mean plans for a revised research system have been ditched.
Instead, the Rajar board – comprising BBC radio, commercial radio and advertising agency representatives – last week voted to set aside “substantial” funds to research and develop a new system better suited to the rapidly increasing number of UK radio stations.
This will be reassuring for those who feared the BBC might withdraw from Rajar, a move that would have weakened the research system and significantly reduced its funding (MW March 22).
Rajar now hopes to have a new – watertight – system ready for launch when the existing Rajar contract with research company RSL expires in the autumn of 1998.
The radio industry is eager to play down the confusion of recent weeks, when data from the new methodology had to be upweighted after it emerged that light listening had been underestimated.
Others question whether RSL will keep its contract for a further term following suggestions that better handling of the situation might have diffused “bad publicity”.