Rajars: Listening high for TalkSport - Press Gazette

Rajars: Listening high for TalkSport

TalkSPORT has achieved its highest audience figures in 18 months, allaying fears that speech radio is struggling across the board.

The nationwide talk station, which benefited from a boost in listening last quarter thanks to the World Cup, has managed to keep listeners tuned in after the final match — putting on an extra 176,000 listeners (8.4%) year on year.

The figures, released today by radio measurement body Rajar, are the highest for the UTV-owned station since spring 2005. TalkSPORT is now listened to by 2.3 million people.

Scott Taunton, chief executive of UTV Radio said: “This is a great achievement for talkSPORT and augurs well for next season, when we become the first national commercial radio station in history to broadcast live and exclusive Premiership football commentary."

Although the World Cup effect has boosted TalkSport, Five Live appears to have
failed to keep listeners tuned in after the closing match. The station
has lost some 300,000 listeners since last autumn — down from 6.1m to
around 5.7m

But a BBC spokeswoman said it was difficult to compare Five Live's figures with last year, which was "a very strong news quarter and a very strong sports quarter", with the London bombings, the Ashes and the Olympics bid.

She also suggested that the timing of the World Cup games — in television peak-time — had not helped Five Live's coverage, compared with the 2002 matches in Japan and South Korea which took place mostly at breakfast time.