Radio suffers from Diana’s death

Radio listening slumped to an all-time low during the third quarter of this year, according to the latest Rajar figures.

Radio listening slumped to an all-time low during the third quarter

of this year, according to the latest Rajar figures.



However, speech radio enjoyed a surge in popularity as listeners tuned

in in the wake of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, on 31 August,

an event that also partly explains the overall drop in listeners. As the

coverage continued in the weeks following the incident, many people

turned to television for information and deserted the radio stations

which were, in many cases, playing music entirely outside their

remit.



Among speech services, London News Radio’s two stations performed well

locally. News Direct’s reach leaped 22 per cent from the last quarter to

406,000, and its total listening hours rose by 54 per cent in the same

period, from 963,000 to 1,483,000. Talk Radio also turned in an increase

in hours and reach nationally, while in London it achieved a 42 per cent

rise in share year on year.



The gap between commercial radio and the BBC closed slightly, with

commercial radio 2.5 per cent ahead, compared with 2.6 per cent last

quarter.



The beleaguered Radio 1 continued to decline in reach but it showed a

healthy increase in all other areas. Its share climbed slightly from 9.7

per cent to 10.1 per cent quarter on quarter. Capital - which some

pundits believe is suffering from the Monopolies and Mergers

Commission’s enquiry into its proposed takeover of Virgin Radio - saw a

decline in reach, hours and share.



Justin Sampson, director of operations at the Radio Advertising Bureau,

said he was delighted commercial radio had maintained ’a healthy lead’

over the BBC.



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