MacKenzie takes legal action against Rajar

Kelvin MacKenzie, the chief executive of The Wireless Group, has carried out his threat to take legal action against the audience measurement system Rajar.

The talkSPORT owner is claiming £66 million in damages for lost revenue that he puts down to Rajar's refusal to introduce an electronic measurement system.

Rajar, which is jointly funded by the BBC and commercial radio companies, uses a diary-based system to publish quarterly listening figures. However, MacKenzie argues that this system is inaccurate and that Rajar has not moved quickly enough to replace it with electronic measurement, such as a wristwatch or pager-based system.

MacKenzie is claiming £1.5 million a month in lost revenue from August 2000, the date from which TWG claims it first asked Rajar to move to electronic measurement.

Rajar records talkSPORT's audience as 1.9 million, while MacKenzie's own research, through Gfk, claims that it has an audience of 6.6 million adult listeners.

The details of TWG's claim also refer to tests Rajar has run of the new technologies and alleges that members of the public were not involved with some of the tests that led to Rajar rejecting the systems.

Rajar said it would "contest the proceedings vigorously". Sally de la Bedoyere, the managing director of Rajar, said: "Leading counsel advise that it is highly likely that the claim will be struck out before it comes to trial."

MacKenzie said: "Incredibly, I have spent more than three years of my life trying to persuade the radio industry that the diary, pencil and short-term memory (system) should be replaced."