Radio lifted by net listeners

- Total hours of radio listening increased by nearly 9 per cent in the 12 months to March 31 2000, according to the latest set of RAJAR results.

- Total hours of radio listening increased by nearly 9 per cent in the 12 months to March 31 2000, according to the latest set of RAJAR results.

The figures provide the first year-on-year comparisons since the Radio Advertising Bureau launched its new methodology last year.

The Bureau's managing director, Justin Sampson, said a strong factor in the increase to the growth in internet usage and the compatability of the two media.

"The numbers are starting to demonstrate that people are listening to the radio while they are on the internet," said Sampson. "Of all people who use the internet at least once a week, 95 per cent listen to the radio; only 90 per cent of all adults listen. Furthermore, just over 3 per cent of all adults have listened to radio stations over the net, and that's particularly strong among men aged between 15 and 34, in which case it's more like 10 per cent."

TalkSPORT suffered a year-on-year drop in market share from 1.8 per cent to 1.4 per cent, while total hours fell from 16.9 million to 14.2 million. But Kelvin MacKenzie, chairman and chief executive of the Wireless Group, pointed out that the station has strengthened its core audience of males aged between 35 and 54, and that 67 per cent of the station's audience is now male.

Virgin Radio suffered a drop in reach, share and hours year-on-year, although quarter-on-quarter it has pulled itself up, with a rise in hours from 24.7 million to 27.8 million.

Classic FM is claiming its best-ever figures, with a weekly reach of 6.26 million, adding a further 255,000 listeners quarter-on-quarter. It has also reached a record market share of 4.4 per cent, rising from 4.3 per cent in the previous 12 months.

In the London market, Heart FM performed well, increasing its share from 4.5 per cent to 5.2 per cent during the 12-month period. Capital FM lost market share, but its hours were up, while Magic FM lost 559,000 hours year-on-year even though it gained 314,000 listeners.

Of the more niche stations, Emap stablemate, Kiss has reversed its decline, clawing its share back to 3.7 per cent; Capital's XFM has improved across the board, with a 663,000 increase in listening hours, and Jazz FM has scored its highest ever reach, with 673,000 listeners, giving it a 1.5 per cent share.



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