BBC’s Rajar triumph hit by discrepancies

Atlantic 252 has suffered in the first quarter Rajar results because of a strong performance by BBC radio, but a number of sales directors are questioning the detail of the research.

Atlantic’s weekly audience reach fell by 15 per cent compared with last year, while its listening hours dropped by nine per cent.

Atlantic sales controller Paul Heaney admits the station has had a poor quarter. “The first quarter promotion we ran wasn’t the strongest we’ve ever had,” he says. “But we’ve not lost core audiences.”

The Network’s head of radio, Howard Bareham, says agency buyers will now try to pull down rates: “The only justification for hardening rates over the past few years has been increasing demand and listening. So we’d like to see some flexibility in prices.”

Virgin Radio saw the hours that people listen to it fall 15 per cent year on year, while its reach remained static. At the same time, Radio One’s hours increased by 19 per cent.

But one sales head says:”It is weird that with its increase in hours of listening Radio One has not increased its reach. And according to this, people in London prefer to listen to Virgin on AM than FM, which is patent nonsense.”

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