The testing, the first of its kind in the world, will see Rajar put the Arbitron Portable People Meter, the Eurisko NOP World Media Monitor and the GfK/Telecontrol MediaWatch through their paces as it looks to see which offers the best replacement for its antiquated diary system.
The tests, slated for November, will decide how well the audiometers can identify up to 33 different radio services, music and speech-based, under a range of conditions and involving some 250 people.
Rajar is looking to see how well the different equipment identifies various formats against a variety of background noises.
According to Paul Kennedy, research director at Rajar: "We look forward to assessing the improved versions of the Arbitron Portable People Meter and the GfK/Telecontrol MediaWatch, as well as testing the new Eurisko NOP World Media Monitor.
"Together with National Centre for Social Research, we have created a pioneering test, which we believe will assist Rajar in selecting the very best audiometers for the future job of radio audience measurement. Once we have analysed the results from these tests and, assuming we have a successful audiometer or audiometers, then we will be able to progress quickly to regional fieldwork tests and a new specification in 2005."
The results from the test will be presented to the Rajar board in December 2004, prior to any announcement of findings or progress to the next stage.
Rajar sees the audiometer validation test as an important stepping stone in its Roadmap to Change, which it announced on September 28 2004.
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