The BBC has broken its own record for listening figures and continued its dominance of speech radio over commercial broadcasters in the first quarter of 2008 according to new data from industry measurement body Rajar.
The BBC‘s audience share rose in the first quarter of the year to 56.8 per cent, up from 55.4 per cent in the last quarter of 2007. That beat the previous record of 56 per cent in the first quarter of last year.
The BBC said that digital listening has helped extend the corporation’s reach with more than 10 million people listening to its stations via digital platforms each week.
In the same period, the commercial sector’s slice of the radio market was down to 41.1 per cent, down from 42.4 per cent in the final quarter of 2007. It was the fourth successive quarterly fall.
Despite this, commercial talk radio stations experienced strong listenership gains in the last quarter of 2007.
According to Rajar TalkSport had a weekly reach of 2.47 million listeners, up from 2.45 million in the last quarter but its audience share fell from 2 per cent to 1.9 per cent.
Its nearest rival, BBC’s rolling news and sports station Radio FiveLive had 6.02 million listeners, down from of 6.08 million in the previous quarter but up from 5.87 million year on year. Its share of 4.6 per cent was the same as the previous quarter but up from 4.2 per cent last year.
Commerical London talk station LBC enjoyed a rise in listenership, up to 701,000 from 642,000 in the last three months of 2007.
LBC’s sister station, the rolling news station LBC News 1152, continued to suffer a massive drop in audience: it was down to 202,000 from 218,000 in the last quarter of 2007.