Ex-Sun Bruiser Champions British Radio’s ‘Little Guys’

11 June 2002

Kelvin McKenzie, former editor of Rupert Murdoch’s top-selling UK tabloid The Sun, doesn’t command quite the same degree of clout he did in his flag-waving, foreigner-bashing glory days.

Now are the mighty fallen to such depths as running TalkSPORT, a minor radio station peddling sport to a declining number of listeners - and protesting at the UK’s current radio audience measurement methodology.

But McKenzie, who also doubles as boss of the Murdoch-controlled Wireless Group, has not lost his penchant for railing against the Establishment. To this end he has formed the Little Guys Radio Association which in addition to TalkSPORT represents Sunrise Radio, Premier Christian Radio, Spectrum Radio and Club Asia.

Nor has McKenzie's gift for invective deserted him: “The only existing trade body for commercial radio (the Commercial Radio Companies Association, whose members include British commercial radio’s dominant trio, GWR, Emap and Capital Radio) is a club for the big boys,” he fulminates. “It’s a fat cat organisation for fat cats by fat cats which is why it chooses to base itself in plush penthouse offices in Shaftsbury Avenue. It does nothing for the little guy, which is why we're getting together.”

The LGRA will lobby radio audience measurement organization RAJAR to change its existing system whereby listeners keep a diary of their listening habits. This, argues McKenzie, favours the ‘fat cats’ over the ‘little guys’ because respondents are more likely to remember the bigger radio brands.

Instead, he has been evangelizing Radiocontrol, a new radio audience measurement methodology that utilises an electronic ‘wrist watch’ to automatically monitor and record the radio stations to which its wearers listen [WAMN: 21-Mar-02]. The system has also been endorsed by Carat Insight, the research unit of media planning/buying network Carat.

RAJAR is currently testing an electronic system – but not at a pace that satisfies the indignant little guys who have been hardest hit by the current slowdown in adspend..

Data sourced from: MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff