Radio audience measurement systems across Europe

Date of publication: July 1, 1995

Author: Peter Menneer


This paper follows up a range of issues about the validity and reliability of radio audience measurement systems across Western European countries. Evidence of their unreliability was in particular demonstrated by what can happen to a country's radio listening when changes are made to the measurement technique itself - even quite minor ones. The apparent untidiness in our data also arises from the wide range of measurement techniques used: recall or diary face-to-face or telephone as part of a multi-media survey or not  and, for diaries, personal placement and collection against postal. It would appear that making cross-country comparisons is a perilous undertaking. This paper continues the detective work. An attempt has been made, with the aid of each country's data supplier, to draw up a comparative study of the main methodological conventions and practices followed in sixteen separate countries. The paper concludes with a recommendation that a checklist of "good professional practice" should be developed by the international research community to encourage moves towards more standardised procedures as and when contractual conditions in individual countries may permit ... from which in due course no doubt the radio equivalent of the TV peoplemeter can benefit as and when it becomes available off the shelf at a price the industry can afford.

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