Commercial radio slides behind BBC

Competition in the volatile London radio market is hotting up with a number of stations suffering a slip in weekly reach, according to the latest Rajar figures.

Competition in the volatile London radio market is hotting up with

a number of stations suffering a slip in weekly reach, according to the

latest Rajar figures.



Among the stations that suffered during the fourth quarter of last year

were Kiss 100, Virgin FM, London News Radio and Heart 106.2. Their

weekly reach and total listening hours fell compared with the previous

three months. Virgin, Kiss and LNR were also down year on year.



Capital Radio’s weekly reach and total hours dipped as commercial radio

slid behind the BBC in the fight for listeners. Total radio listening

also continued to fall.



However, Capital’s average hours per listener and its total share of

listening was up quarter on quarter.



London News Radio recorded the most disappointing figures, with weekly

reach dipping from 924,000 listeners in the third quarter to 697,000 in

the fourth quarter. During that period, the FM station was relaunched as

London News Direct.



Elsewhere, there was good news for Classic FM, which saw its reach climb

from 4.6 million to 4.7 million quarter on quarter. However, Atlantic

252’s reach slid from 3.8 million to 3.6 million in the same period.



Overall, commercial radio’s share of listening dipped to 48.3 per cent

from 48.8 per cent in quarter three. Meanwhile, BBC Radio’s share of

listening climbed from 48.9 per cent to 49.6 per cent quarter on

quarter, while Radio 2 overtook Radio 1 in terms of share of

listening.



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

result is good news. Although it has lost some weekly reach, holding on

to and developing loyalty is a good idea for the market leader.’



Elsewhere, there was good news for Talk Radio which appears to have

finally buried its shock-jock image. The station’s reach jumped from 2.1

million to 2.3 million and share of listening climbed from 1.8 per cent

to 1.9 per cent, quarter on quarter. Virgin AM also saw its weekly reach

improve from 2.8 million to 2.9 million in the same quarter.



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