Kelvin MacKenzie accused of courting publicity in legal dispute

Kelvin Mackenzie, the founder and chief executive of Wireless Group, was yesterday accused in the High Court of using a campaign of "hot air" in the press against an industry organisation in order to attract publicity for his radio stations.

Mr MacKenzie, a former editor of The Sun, is suing Rajar, the radio sector's body for providing official audience figures, for £66m because he believes that the system discriminates against the Wireless stations - especially its flagship talkSPORT brand.

At issue is a decision taken in June last year by Rajar not to adopt a new electronic method for measuring audiences to replace its long-standing "diary" system - where survey participants write down which stations they listen to each day.

Mr MacKenzie's Wireless Group believes that Rajar's persistence with the diary amounts to an abuse of its dominant market position. The High Court yesterday heard an action brought by Rajar to strike out the Wireless claim before it reaches a full trial.

Nick Green QC, who presented the case for Rajar, said that ahead of the issue reaching court, Mr MacKenzie had used it as a publicity stunt. He pointed to "hot air that has been ventilated in the press". He quoted from several newspaper articles, including one in which Mr MacKenzie said of Rajar: "I want to torture those bastards in court."

Mr Green told the judge: "In the press Mr MacKenzie has accused Rajar of fraud, not a case that is advanced in the pleading [in court]. It's reflective on a fact that we say underlies this case which is that it's all about publicity, it being a truism that all publicity is good publicity."

Mr MacKenzie was in court yesterday but the hearing will not result in any witnesses being called. The former Sun editor listened intently to the arguments put forward by Mr Green. Wireless will present its side today. Afterwards, Mr MacKenzie's only comment was a sarcastic quip, uttered as he walked past the Rajar executives and their lawyers outside the court room. "You're doing very well, guys," he said.

Mr Green disputed the assertion by Wireless that a "resolute decision" had been taken by Rajar not to adopt an electronic measuring system. He said that Rajar had "deferred" a decision and was testing competing electronic systems. He pointed to Rajar's stated aim of having the new technology in place by January 2007.

He said that Rajar was moving towards electronic measurement but the systems it had tested so far were unsatisfactory. He said that Wireless wanted the change before more refined devices became available - one of the companies involved has still not provided Rajar with its new model.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
The John Peel Lecture has previously been given by Pete Townshend of The Who, Billy Bragg and Charlotte Church
musicGodfather of punk will speak on 'free music in a capitalist society'
News
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
News
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trainee / Experienced Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: As a Recruitment Consultant, y...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Quantitative Risk Manager

Up to £80000: Saxton Leigh: My client, a large commodities broker, is looking ...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments