Commercial radio regains listeners

Commercial radio has regained its lead in audience share over the BBC according to the latest set of Rajar research, after Britain’s most popular station BBC Radio 1 suffered a ratings setback.

The recovery in the three months to March 30 was largely driven by increased audiences for local commercial services, which saw their combined share of listening rise to 39.7 per cent, from 38.2 per cent in the previous quarter.

Among national commercial services, Atlantic 252’s share of national listening slipped to 2.4 per cent from 2.7 per cent. Talk Radio fell from 1.9 per cent to 1.5 per cent.

Classic FM managed to expand its audience marginally from 3.2 per cent to a 3.3 per cent share. In the key London market, Capital’s FM and Gold services registered good gains in commercial hours.

Kiss FM also improved, as did Heart FM, which broke the 1-million-listeners-a-week barrier on the back of heavy advertising promotion. However, Jazz FM and News Direct suffered audience falls, while the revamp of Liberty Radio by Liberty Broadcasting managing director Mike Hollingsworth has failed to improve its fortunes. It won a 0.1 per cent share of the London radio market – the same as the previous quarter.

Overall, the BBC achieved a 48.4 per cent share of all listening during the quarter, compared with 39.7 per cent achieved by local commercial stations, and 9.8 per cent by national stations.

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