NEWS: BBC wins listeners from commercial radio

BBC Radio has nosed ahead of commercial radio in the ratings battle for the first time in nearly two years, according to the latest Rajar figures.

BBC Radio has nosed ahead of commercial radio in the ratings battle for

the first time in nearly two years, according to the latest Rajar

figures.



The surprise news came as Rajar released details of listening patterns

for the first quarter of 1996. The BBC chalked up a 50.4 per cent share

of listening for the period January to March, compared with 47.2 per

cent for the same period in 1995.



Meanwhile, commercial radio slipped from a 49.7 per cent share of

listening to 47.6 per cent.



Bill Kinlay, media director at the Network, said: ‘The BBC is taking the

threat from commercial radio seriously. It has a good marketing

department and is now getting its act together across the board.’



Total radio listening increased by nearly 30 million hours, due almost

entirely to the BBC’s improved performance. Meanwhile, licensed

commercial radio listening dropped 567,000 hours year on year, despite

the fact that Talk Radio, which did not launch until February 1995, was

on-air for the entire first quarter of 1996.



Talk Radio increased its audience by 6 per cent to 2.1 million. Classic

FM also increased from just under 4.5 million to nearly five million

listeners. But both Atlantic 252 and Virgin Radio registered decreases.



The Virgin fall was mitigated by the fact that in London many former

listeners to its national AM service tuned into the London-only FM

service. The combined Virgin audience of 4.7 million was up by almost a

quarter on1995’s national figure of 3.8 million.



Radio 1 pulled in an additional 200,000 listeners to the Chris Evans

Breakfast Show - up from 6.2 million to 6.48 million. And Radio 5 Live

had a record average weekly audience of 5.21 million.



Viva! slumped to 11,000 listeners a week.



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