- 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 the television channels as a reason for the increase in the BBC's share.
A majority of 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. We can now offer London's youth, and middle youth, a real choice."
London's other success story -- also seeing a return on its marketing efforts -- was Capital's Xfm, whose share pushed over the 1 per cent mark for the first time to reach 1.3 per cent, and its listenership increasing from 281,000 to 342,000.
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 loss was more pronounced -- given the amount invested in it since its take-over by Kelvin MacKenzie's TalkCo -- with quarter two's 2,268,000 reach and 1.8 per cent share diving to 1,879,000 and a 1.5 per cent share. Radio 5 lost a similar number of listeners, down from 5,948,000 to 5,572,000.