The art of prestidigitation lies in diverting the attention of onlookers from what's actually happening.

And following the humiliating collapse of Kelvin Mackenzie's buyout of The Wireless Group from Rupert Murdoch, John Malone and other shareholders [WAMN: 24-Feb-05], the blustering ex-editor of The Sun newspaper attempted a similar diversionary tactic.

On Friday - just one day after his buyout imploded - megaphone Mac redirected his ire to an old enemy, RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research), the UK industry body responsible for radio listening data.

Despite losing a recent High Court case against RAJAR [WAMN: 20-Dec-05], Mackenzie continues to insist that the body underrates the listening figures for TWG's flagship national radio station talkSPORT.

He charges RAJAR with concealing the results of electronic measurement tests in 2002/3 that [he claims] gave talkSPORTa weekly audience reach respectively of 14%, and 17% when measured by Gfk's wristwatch and Arbitron's meter.

RAJAR, however, credits the station with a reach of just four per cent, at the same time insisting the results of the tests are confidential during the trial period which ends in 2007.

Fumes MacKenzie: "I challenge RAJAR to deny these figures. This, after all, is what the whole argument is all about ... and these figures are theirs not ours; they're from their own tests that they devised and that they commissioned, administered and oversaw.

"The fact is that talkSPORT is going great guns and RAJAR knows it, but they won't admit it."

And for his next trick ….

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff