RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research), the radio industry-owned body that tracks UK radio listening, this week had a warning shot fired across its bows by government-appointed media and telecoms regulator Ofcom

RAJAR and its antiquated audience measurement methodology have been the focal point of much controversy in recent years, as well as the target of an unsuccessful legal action brought against it by the recently deposed maverick radio tycoon Kelvin MacKenzie.

All of which will have been in the thoughts of Ofcom ceo Stephen Carter when he addressed a radio industry conference in Edinburgh earlier this week [WAMN: 06-Jul-05].

Noting that RAJAR is still piloting a test programme of electronic measurement systems prior to scrapping its widely criticised paper diary system, Carter urged the body to accelerate production of "more robust, up to date and granular ad delivery statistics".

Warned Carter: "Only if they do the business will the investments in digital-only stations and digital radio listening begin to repay the proper investment that the risk-takers have made."

He also commented on the disparity between advertising revenues for digital-only stations compared to their share of listeners and the rest of the radio market.

"Certainly there is an oddity today that 8% of listening to digital-only stations converts into only £1 million ($1.76m; €1.48m) of advertising revenue," he said.

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