NEWS: Leaked Rajar report sparks controversy over audience data

Controversy is raging about a leaked batch of monthly Rajar figures which reveal that the number of listeners has dropped dramatically across a raft of radio stations.

Controversy is raging about a leaked batch of monthly Rajar figures

which reveal that the number of listeners has dropped dramatically

across a raft of radio stations.



Concerns hinge on the new methodology which has been adopted by Rajar

for gathering audience data. Stations believe it has wrongly revealed a

drop in audiences. Concern is such that Rajar was forced to address the

issue at a board meeting this Thursday.



The BBC is reported to be very unhappy with the figures, and speculation

has mounted this week that it is to pull out of Rajar.



While monthly figures are made available to stations, agencies only

officially receive quarterly data.



Data for the fourth quarter of this year were the first to be released

since Rajar changed its research methods last month. They reveal that

reach is down across most national stations, although listening hours

have increased.



The differences have been magnified in the wake of Rajar revealing this

week that average weekly listening hours for Radio 1 are 11.1 million,

Talk Radio 2.2 million, and Classic 4.7 million, while the new figures

indicate that Radio 1 has lost 1.1 million listeners, Talk Radio

700,000, and Classic 800,000.



David Lees, sales and marketing director at Talk Radio, said: ‘Our

monthly plans are, to some extent, structured around these figures, but

they are not representative figures in their own right.’