Classic FM has broken the five million listener barrier in the
Rajar results for the first quarter of 1998.
The long-term goal was met when the station recorded its highest weekly
reach in terms of total hours and share with an emerging younger
audience. Share rose from 3.3 per cent to 3.6 per cent year on year.
Of the other national commercial stations, Virgin also recorded its
strongest results, achieving a record 3.9 per cent share for the
combined AM and FM frequencies, up from last quarter’s 3.3 per cent
share. Another climber was Talk Radio - in the process of being sold by
CLT - which has increased its audience by 473,000 listeners year on year
to record a total of 2,267,000 listeners. Its sister station, Atlantic
252, fell quarter on quarter from 2,879,000 to 2,264,000.
Commercial radio’s share of listening rose to 50.1 per cent, increasing
its lead over the BBC by 2.4 per cent quarter on quarter.
Radio 2 maintained its lead over the national stations at 13.2 per cent
with a weekly reach of nine million. Radio 1’s reach rose by 240,000
quarter on quarter to 11.1 million listeners per week, although the
station’s reach is down year on year compared with its 11.8 million
listeners in the first quarter of 1997.
Despite Radio 4’s controversial programming changes, the station
increased its reach this quarter from 8,068,000 to 8,161,000, although
its share of listening remained at 10.4 per cent.
In London, Heart 106.2 pushed Capital Gold into third from second
position, attracting 1.35 million listeners per week compared with
Capital Gold’s 1.24 million.
However, Capital FM retained its hold as London’s top station, recording
the highest reach at 2,836,000 and largest share at 15.5 per cent.
Melody Radio - soon to be bought by Emap, pending a public interest test
- recorded more than one million listeners for the first time, compared
with last quarter’s 956,000.
Liberty Radio has yet to see the fruits of its relaunch as a 70s music
station, having seen a small slump in its reach from 140,000 to 137,000.