61,000 listeners desert Radio 4

The row over Today defence correspondent Andrew Gilligan and the so-called “sexed-up dossier” was not enough to prevent a further 61,000 listeners abandoning Radio 4 during the past three months.

According to third-quarter ?gures released by ratings monitor Rajar, Radio 4’s weekly reach over the period from March to June fell to 9,695,000 listeners, down from 9,756,000 in the same period last year, a drop of 0.6 per cent year-on-year.

The station saw ratings pass the 10 million barrier for the ?rst time during the second quarter, helped by the outbreak of the war in Iraq.

Radio Five Live’s listeners were also down year-on-year, as in 2002 the station bene?ted from the football World Cup. Its weekly reach fell 13 per cent to 5,803,000 listeners, from 6,659,000 in the third quarter last year. The channel’s share of listening was down 0.5 per cent to 4.4 per cent.

BBC World Service, which joined Rajar ratings for the ?rst time in March, saw an increase of 68,000 UK listeners this quarter to 1,463,000.

Of the commercial broadcasters, LBC – witnessing its second set of ratings since its relaunch by Chrysalis in January – saw its presenter-led LBC 97.3FM attract 517,000 listeners (up from 447,000 in the previous quarter) and its rolling news channel, LBC 1152AM, 444,000 (up from 441,000).

By Wale Azeez

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