Magazine article Marketing

Rajar Figures Herald New Era for Radio

Magazine article Marketing

Rajar Figures Herald New Era for Radio

Article excerpt

First audience figures from new research body are hailed as good news for future ad prospects on national commercial stations

Radio has been firmly established as a national advertising medium with the publication of the first results from the new Radio Joint Audience Research (Rajar) last week.

Classic FM and Atlantic 252 -- the two national, or near-national, commercial radio stations -- attract almost eight million listeners a week, according to Rajar. It is hoped that the results will make radio a stronger competitor for national advertising revenue.

The results, for the fourth quarter of 1992, are less encouraging for independent local radio (ILR). Eighty-nine percent of the population listen to some radio each week while 53% listen to commercial radio. Total hours of listening to ILR is down 12.5%, compared to a fall for all radio of around 6%.

Because the Rajar survey uses different methodology to its predecessor Jicrar the two are not comparable. Rajar covers 100% of the total UK population. But Jicrar only surveyed the areas served by ILR -- 93% of the population -- so the percentage reach of ILR is bound to be proportionately depressed.

"Overall the figures are OK," says Brian West, director of the Association of Independent Radio Companies, "but dramatic swings for some stations suggest that there may be something adrift with the local surveys. Rajar will be re-investigating them forthwith."

The research is important because it is the first time that commercial and BBC radio stations have agreed on a single audience measurement system. It is also the first time that Classic FM and Atlantic 252 have had robust industry-generated data to support their audience claims.

Classic FM's weekly audience of 4.3 million adults, which is over 50% up on the station's audience predictions when it launched last September, means that the station is now the fourth largest in the country. Its audience includes 2.5 million ABC1 adults and half a million 16 to 24 year-olds.

John Spearman, chairman of Classic FM, believes that BBC Radio 2 and Radio 4 have been most badly hit by the new station. By attracting listeners from BBC radio, however, Spearman feels that Classic FM is living up to its promises to advertisers. "Advertisers said they wanted us to deliver people they couldn't already reach through ILR, and this is what we've done. …

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