Breakfast battle gives boost to radio figures

Radio listening recovered in the final quarter of 1997 after a disappointing autumn, according to the latest Rajar results, while in the breakfast show war, Virgin’s Chris Evans enjoyed the biggest percentage gains.

Radio listening recovered in the final quarter of 1997 after a

disappointing autumn, according to the latest Rajar results, while in

the breakfast show war, Virgin’s Chris Evans enjoyed the biggest

percentage gains.



Listening figures for the last quarter of 1997 showed that the battle

for ratings between Virgin, Capital and Radio 1 led to an overall

increase in listeners.



All eyes were on the breakfast shows. Virgin Radio’s Chris Evans

Breakfast Show increased its weekly reach by 153,000 listeners in

London, and 657,000 nationally - up 33 and 41 per cent respectively.

Radio 1’s Zoe Ball and Kevin Greening show held steady in London and

added 280,000 (6 per cent) nationally. Chris Tarrant on London’s Capital

put 16.6 per cent on his audience, increasing it to 1,951,000.



The new London FM station, Xfm, which had a troubled launch during the

week after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, only managed a 2 per

cent weekly reach. Meanwhile, London News Direct was the fastest-growing

station in terms of reach, with a 49 per cent year-on-year increase to

441,000.



Overall, 624,000 more people tuned in during this quarter than in the

third quarter, which saw a slump of 779,000. Contrary to industry

speculation, the gap between commercial radio and the BBC closed

substantially, with the BBC winning a 47.9 per cent share against

commercial radio’s 49.5 per cent. The 1.6 per cent differential compares

with the previous quarter’s 2.5 per cent.



Nationally, Classic FM achieved its equal best figures, with 4.9 million

weekly listeners. Talk Radio recorded its highest weekly reach with 2.4

million listeners, and its sister station, Atlantic 252, increased its

weekly reach by 32,000 listeners.



The BBC’s run of good figures included Radio 5 Live’s weekly reach

hitting five million, and Radio 2 holding the position of the highest

share of any station at 13 per cent.



David Fletcher, head of radio at CIA Medianetwork, said: ’The general

increase in reach and hours should alleviate the inflationary

pressures.



Buyers now don’t have to try so hard to get the full campaign, as you

can achieve results in fewer spots.’



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