Rajar figures bring mixed fortunes for LBC stations

New Rajar chief Sally de la Bedoyere at last week’s announcement

The growth of LBC 97.3FM since its relaunch has continued apace with 196,000 new listeners added to the 377,000 inherited from the talk format station before the switch over from AM in January 2003.

According to the latest Rajar figures to December 2003, this reach of 573,000 was equal to a leap of 52 per cent year-on-year and 2.7 per cent on the last quarter.

However, the reach of rolling news station LBC News 1152AM dropped 29 per cent year-on-year from 482,000 to 341,000, but it gained 67,000 listeners from the last quarter.

Talk Sport dropped 20 per cent to 1.9 million (4 per cent reach) from 2.4 million year-on-year. But according to the Wireless Group’s own electronic measurement system, it claimed 6.6 million listeners per week.

BBC Radio’s overall reach fell yearonyear in 2003, although its share of UK audience rose slightly to remain just over half the listening population, retaining a lead over the commercial sector.

Weekly reach dipped 2 per cent to 32 million listeners from 32.7 million in 2002, but up from 31.8 million in the third quarter. The network increased its share to 52.9 per cent up from 52.5 per cent over the year, and from 51.8 per cent in the last quarter.

Radio 4 slipped further away from the 10 million mark in 2003, with a reach of 9.5 million down from 9.8 million, representing a year-on-year drop of 2.9 per cent but flat from the previous quarter. Its 11.5 per cent share was unchanged from the previous year.

Although the audience for Radio 2 remained more or less flat year-onyear at 13.3 million, Jeremy Vine, the former Newsnight anchor who replaced Jimmy Young last year, added a quarter of a million listeners to his programme, according to Jo Hamilton, research manager for BBC Radio. The show contributed to Radio 2’s overall audience increase of 674,000.

Radio Five Live dropped from 6.3 million to 6.1 million, despite the inclusion of the 257,000 listeners to its new digital channel Radio Five Live Sports Extra.

The latest Rajar figures were the first to be announced since the appointment in December of new managing director Sally de la Bedoyere.

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