Radio figures show value of local news

The
latest Rajar figures have revealed substantial audience increases for
BBC stations Radio Scotland, Radio Kent and Radio Cumbria.

Radio
Scotland recorded a weekly reach over a million for the first time in
18 months and Radio Kent has recorded its biggest share under current
Rajar methodology, at 13.1 per cent.

BBC Radio Scotland’s weekly
reach increased by 128,000 quarter-on-quarter, to an audience of 1.07m
(25.6 per cent). With reach back over a million for the first time in
18 months, this represents the highest figure in two years.

More than a quarter of the adult population of Scotland is now listening to the station.

BBC
Radio Kent’s share is up from 11.7 per cent the previous year. The
station has a reach of 305,000 – the highest recorded for 2004.

Managing
editor Paul Leaper said: “We’re now ahead of Radio Four in the
geographical survey area of Kent, which shows the value of local
journalism.

Listeners have a vast choice- we have defined what we are in relation to the choice listeners have.

“We’ve said: ‘If you live and work in Kent you should listen to us so you know what’s going on.’

“We’ve
added news to our lunchtime programme and the audience is up by 29 per
cent. We’ve added extra resources to the drive time programme and the
audience is up 25 per cent. One in four people in the county listen to
us.”

BBC Radio Cumbria has recorded the highest share for four
years at 21.8 per cent. This figure does not include the period when
the station worked tirelessly to broadcast emergency information during
the Carlisle floods last month.

Another local station pleased
with its results was BBC Radio WM (Birmingham & Black Country),
whose reach quarter-on-quarter increased from 256,000 to 370,000
listeners.

In total BBC local radio, and national radio’s reach
in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales is 10.24m, up on last quarter’s
9.93m and stable on last year (10.27m). This was broadly unchanged on
the same quarter last year (10.27m), which means that one in five of
the population (21 per cent) continue to tune to a BBC local/national
service each week. Share is 11 per cent, up on the quarter and the year
(both 10.9 per cent).

Local commercial radio has an audience share of 34.2 per cent and a reach of 25,395,000.

Overall,
BBC radio claims 54 per cent of all radio listening, which is ahead of
commercial radio at 44.2 per cent. The BBC is also ahead of commercial
radio in reach by 1.31m at 32.49m.

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