The research methodology used by UK radio audience measurement body RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) came under fire yet again last week.

The latest sniper is US-owned investment bank and equity research specialist Robert W Baird, publisher of a report attacking the RAJAR system as “fundamentally flawed”. In particular, the money-men dislike RAJAR's manual diary system which, it avers, “generally under-represents emerging and niche stations”.

All of which will be music to the ears of Rupert Murdoch-owned The Wireless Group, run by the mogul’s former rottweiler at The Sun, Kelvin McKenzie, who has long fulminated along similar lines against RAJAR. In archetypal campaigning style, earlier this summer McKenzie formed the Little Guys Radio Association – of which with cynical irony TWG, the UK’s fourth largest radio company, was the founding member.

In addition to allegedly favouring the bigger players, McKenzie and others blame RAJAR’s methodology for the seeming fall of ten per cent in total listening across the London region during the quarter ended June 30. Although the research body denies its modus operandi is responsible for the fall, many in the industry question the sampling techniques used.

But mounting dissatisfaction with the present manual diary-keeping procedure has compelled RAJAR to act and in September it is due to start a six-month trial of a new electronic system.

RAJAR managing director Jane O’Hara did not welcome the Baird report’s conclusions: “Comments like this aren’t necessarily going to speed up the process,” she complained. “I still have every confidence in the diary methodology which is the most complete media survey in the world.”

RAJAR is jointly owned by the Commercial Radio Companies Association and the British Broadcasting Corporation. Its research contractor is Ipsos-RSL.

Data sourced from: Media Week (UK); additional content by WARC staff