Here’s an e-mail I recently sent to the Community Media Association’s mailing list you may find of interest:

Again my personal views….

On 23/04/2011 20:56, ROBERT TYLER wrote:

In any event, all of national advertising is sold based on RAJAR data,
in other words, no RAJAR no interest.

Just pondering – in the last RAJAR figures, ‘other listening’ counts for 6% reach.

This ‘other listening’ consists of:

Non RAJAR subscribing stations – i.e. many Digital only, Community, Student, Hospital and Pirate stations.
‘Out of area’ listening (i.e. if I ticked Liverpool’s ‘Radio City’ as a Manchester listener I’d be in ‘other listening’ as I’m outside their TSA).

Also RAJAR state that 25% of listening is via Digital Platforms.

Therefore you could argue that discounting 25% of the 6% of ‘other listening’ – leaves us with Community Radio having ‘the best part of’ a 4% audience reach.

Of course some Community Radio listening is via Internet – which is Digital in the RAJAR survey and there are many other non Community ‘other’ stations.

The biggest, of many, blows to the statistical validity of this 4% figure is that there is not universal enough coverage of Community Radio. We are all so different that if a respondent in Town A listens to a Community Radio station, we can’t justifiably assume that a similar demographic non surveyed listener in Town B listens to their local Community Radio station.

Even if you take a margin out of the ‘other listening’ for listeners to non Rajar, non Community Radio, a 2% reach brings us in line with the reach of BBC 6Music – but still this is pretty dodgy ground to claim with any validity. In any case in the commercial world there’s only Premier Christian Radio, Kissmat, Buzz Asia, Gold Devon and Yorkshire Radio at such low reach figures (the first three being niche broadcasters, the last digital only and we can only assume Oldies on AM is not a mass market attraction in Devon.)

So depending on how you spin it 2% may or may not be that ‘attractive’ a statistic.

However I believe the reach of Community Radio will be greater than this – but a significant audience will only tune in for one or two specific programmes.

The Rajar methodology will never work for this as the survey size is just many a factor (I’d argue at least hundreds times) too small to catch all these niche one or two hours a week listeners. BUT it is perfectly “statistically valid” to “gauge” the audience of large mainstream radio stations.

Anyway this is some food for thought – I’m sure some Rajar gurus might be able to pull apart some of this argument as I don’t claim to be any expert!



Photo Credits: “RAJAR” by Adam Bowie