Navigauge Sets Sights on Houston Car Radios

ATLANTA Navigauge, the start-up challenger to Arbitron, said it plans to expand its radio audience measuring service to Houston this year.

It is the first expansion for the company, which has been measuring audiences in its hometown of Atlanta for the past three years. The company said it plans to expand to four other major markets by the end of this year.

Navigauge gathers information about the radio-listening habits of people in their cars by using a device, usually concealed in the trunk, that monitors all radio activity in the vehicles. That information is combined with a GPS locator system that tracks the route of cars and can be used to determine if a driver visited a retailer or restaurant after it was advertised on the radio. The company sells the information to radio station operators and advertisers.

Beginning in April, the company will map the demographic composition of Houston and use the information to recruit a panel of 1,100 people, representative of that demographic, to carry the monitoring device. The first data will be available this summer.

“We sense that Houston, with its diverse consumer base, will enable us to deliver timely intelligence as to how different ethnic groups utilize radio, patronize retailers and move about their daily lives, ” said Tim Cobb, Navigauge’s CEO.