BBC radio trounces commercial rivals

BBC radio stations have come out ahead of their commercial rivals in the latest set of Rajar audience figures.

The BBC stations increased their combined share of listening to 54.4 per cent in the third quarter of 2004, from 51.8 per cent in the same period last year. This rise was largely as a result of listening growth for Radio 1, Radio 2 and Radio Five Live.

Commercial radio's total share fell from 46.2 per cent to 43.7 per cent year on year. Classic FM and Virgin Radio both lost share, as did local commercial stations. In London, commercial radio was hit particularly hard by BBC stations. However, Kiss 100, buoyed by its successful Bam Bam Breakfast Show, and Capital FM, enjoyed a rise in listening share.

The BBC's resurgence comes amid suggestions that its TV cross-promotion of its radio stations has reached extreme levels.

Simon Bumfrey, the relationship director on the Barclays Media Team, said: "It's got the feel of when the BBC took away ITV's mantle. But it's about programming and presenters and it's up to commercial radio to respond."

- All about ... London radio, p10.