BBC cheered by new Rajar figures

The BBC has stolen a march over commercial radio for the second time in a year, according to the latest set of Rajar figures released last week.

The BBC has stolen a march over commercial radio for the second

time in a year, according to the latest set of Rajar figures released

last week.

The figures for the third quarter of 1999 show the BBC is 2.5 per cent

ahead of commercial radio with a 50.3 per cent share, compared with

commercial’s 47.8 per cent.

The Radio Advertising Bureau has defended the figures, explaining that

while the BBC’s figures overall may have overtaken those of commercial

radio, the latter still attracts a greater proportion - 77 per cent - of

15- to 44-year-olds, who are a prime target for advertisers. And many

commercial broadcasters have cited the increased amount of

cross-promotion of the BBC’s radio services on its television channels

as a reason for the increase in the BBC’s share.

Most commercial radio stations turned in a fairly stable performance,

both nationally and in London. Heart 106.2, the Chrysalis-owned station,

saw its 5.5 per cent share of the capital’s audience drop to 4.6 per

cent, while Emap’s Magic and Kiss saw their recent advertising pushes

bear fruit, with Kiss recording a 0.9 per cent increase in share to 4.2

per cent.

Tom Toumazis, the managing director of Emap On Air, said: ’We took some

very big decisions to change both of these stations, and it’s very

pleasing that the audience has responded quicker than we expected.’

London’s other success story was Capital’s Xfm, whose share pushed over

the 1 per cent mark for the first time.

The drop in broadcast football matches over the summer adversely

affected the two radio stations known best for their coverage of the

sport, with both Talk Radio and BBC Radio 5 Live suffering a drop in

listeners. Talk’s 2,268,000 reach of quarter two was down to 1,879,000

while Radio 5 was down from 5,948,000 to 5,572,000.

UK radio listening (quarter ending 19 September 1999)

                    Weekly   Weekly     Total   Listening

                     reach    reach     hours       share

                    (’000)      (%)    (’000)         (%)

BBC Radio 1         11,219       23   104,655        10.6

BBC Radio 2          9,491       20   120,495        12.2

BBC Radio 4          8,756       18   104,194        10.6

Classic FM           5,621       12    40,400         4.1

BBC Radio 5 Live     5,572       12    41,450         4.2

Virgin Radio (AM)    3,101        6    21,405         2.2

BBC Radio 3          1,923        4    12,185         1.2

Talk Radio           1,879        4    14,373         1.5

Atlantic 252*        1,825        4     8,917         0.9

All BBC             30,555       64   495,294        50.3

All commercial      30,644       64   471,439        47.8

All radio           42,548       89   985,297       100.0

Source: Rajar/Ipsos-RSL * The majority of Atlantic 252’s listening

takes place within its defined Total Survey Area, which covers

approximately 66 per cent of the population.

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