MacKenzie hits out at Rajar data

Sports radio station TalkSport chief Kelvin MacKenzie has renewed his attack on Rajar, this time over an unexplained decline in radio listening figures in London during the World Cup.

MacKenzie claims TalkSport suffered a 37.6 per cent fall in male London listeners for the quarter ending June 2002, but that outside London, male listener numbers rose by 13.6 per cent. MacKenzie, chairman and chief executive of the Wireless Group, which owns TalkSport, says he finds the figures impossible to believe. He says: “How, during the World Cup, could TalkSport have suffered a drop in male listener numbers, quarter on quarter, in London only?”

Total London listening-hours dropped by ten per cent for the quarter. MacKenzie, a well-known advocate of electronic audience measurement systems, blames Rajar’s diary system of measuring radio audiences. He claims the system is flawed and says: “The system is costing companies like mine revenue every time the figures are published.”

Rajar managing director Jane O’Hara says she is examining the cause of the slump in London listening, but has yet to reach a conclusion. She says: “As far as we can see, it is not due to methodology. We will continue to look into it.”

Rajar is testing electronic audience measurement systems and will report its findings next Spring. O’Hara says Rajar wants to conduct thorough testing and the process will not be rushed.

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