NEWS: Rajar makes U-turn and brings back its old audit methods

Rajar, the radio audience measurement body, has staged a dramatic U-turn by ditching its new diary methodology and ordering a return to the previous auditing system, at least until 1998.

Rajar, the radio audience measurement body, has staged a dramatic U-turn

by ditching its new diary methodology and ordering a return to the

previous auditing system, at least until 1998.



It said it would continue working on a new measurement system to be

introduced after that date, which would take into account the ever

increasing number of radio services on air. However, some industry

sources believe BBC Radio may take this opportunity to strike out with

its own measurement system again.



To calm industry doubts, Rajar issued a statement last week. It said:

‘The Rajar board has decided to return to a ‘pre-list’ diary methodology

until September 1998 - the end of the current Rajar contract with RSL.’



The volte-face comes after pressure from BBC Radio, which last week

slammed the new Rajar methods and called for a return to the old system

(Campaign, 22 March).



The BBC became unhappy last November about leaked Rajar figures which

indicated that, under the new diary system, its reach had fallen across

the board.



In response to industry pressure, Rajar agreed to conduct parallel

esearch comparing the old-style diaries with the new ones.



However, the row blew up again following the late release of fourth

quarter figures two weeks ago, when Rajar warned agencies not to use the

results to analyse stations’ performances in detail.



An industry source said: ‘The BBC must rue the day it was obliged to

start doing joint press conferences and issuing joint press releases.’



Sue Farr, BBC Radio’s head of marketing and publicity, was unavailable

for comment as Campaign went to press.



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