Rajar figures highlight BBC performance rise

The gap in share between the BBC’s radio output and commercial radio has widened by a further 2.1 per cent, according to the latest set of Rajar figures.

The gap in share between the BBC’s radio output and commercial

radio has widened by a further 2.1 per cent, according to the latest set

of Rajar figures.

The BBC now has a 51.3 per cent share of all UK listening, against

commercial radio’s 46.7 per cent. But Justin Sampson, the managing

director of the Radio Advertising Bureau, said it was too early to

describe the gap as a trend.

’What is happening is that the BBC is increasing its audience. Our slice

of the pie is still the same size, but the pie has grown,’ he said.

Several individual commercial stations have turned in strong

performances, however. Classic FM now has a 52.3 per cent share of the

national commercial radio market, with 6.004 million listeners per week

compared with last period’s 5.621 million. Kelvin MacKenzie’s Talk Radio

(now called TalkSPORT) also put on 363,000 listeners last quarter,

increasing its reach to 2.242 million and its share from 4 per cent to 5

per cent. Despite negative publicity, Virgin has succeeded in increasing

its reach.

The majority of the London commercial market illustrates the increase in

radio listening as a whole. While Capital FM’s hours were down slightly,

its reach went up slightly to 3.017 million. Xfm’s reach increased by

41,000 to 383,000. For Emap, its 19,000 drop in listeners for Kiss was

countered by a 108,000 increase for Magic 105.4, now up to 1.356


Jazz FM’s performance, both in London and the north west, was its best

yet, with the Manchester-based station increasing its reach from 154,000

to 240,000. The London station has increased its total hours from 2.618

million to 4.014 million.

The overall share for most of these stations, though, was shrunk by the

BBC’s growth.

UK radio listening (quarter ending 19 December 1999)

                   Weekly   Weekly       Total   Listening

                    reach    reach       hours       share

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

BBC Radio 1        11,291       24     109,704        10.9

BBC Radio 2         9,901       21     128,554        12.8

BBC Radio 4         8,915       19     111,097        11.0

BBC Radio 5 Live    6,081       13      44,769         4.4

Classic FM          6,004       13      43,575         4.3

Virgin Radio (AM)   3,040        6      17,985         1.8

TalkSPORT           2,242        5      15,470         1.5

BBC Radio 3         2,018        4      13,209         1.3

Atlantic 252*       1,527        3       6,220         0.6

All BBC            30,925       65     516,062        51.3

All commercial     30,862       64     469,721        46.7

All radio          42,727       89   1,006,330       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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