UK Radio Measurement ‘Misleads’, Claims Station Boss

21 March 2002

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, has been endorsed by Carat Insight, the research unit of media planning/buying network Carat.

And its most vociferous advocate is none other than Kelvin MacKenzie, chief executive of the Wireless Group, former tabloid editor and bosom buddy of Rupert Murdoch – the controlling shareholder in MacKenzie’s company.

“Advertisers, media sales houses and the financial markets are being misled,” MacKenzie will claim at a J P Morgan conference of radio industry executives today (Thursday).

His assertion is based on the fact that under the new system, Wireless Group’s TalkSPORT station appeared to quadruple its reach compared with data published by official ratings agency RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research), jointly owned by the Commercial Radio Companies Association and the BBC.

Radiocontrol, already in use in mainland Europe, has published data suggesting that some of the biggest UK stations have fewer listeners than reported by RAJAR. According to the former system, Capital FM, Kiss 100, Jazz and XFM all fare poorly, losing market share; whereas speech-based stations such as LBC, London Live and News Direct achieved audience reach up to seven times that recorded by the latter.

Perhaps of greater concern to the radio industry as a whole is Radiocontrol’s finding that Britons spend less time listening to the radio than previously thought.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff