Radio Five Live scores in summer of sport

Events such as the Olympics helped to grow Radio Five Live’s audience

Latest RAJAR figures show that a summer bonanza of sport has boosted Radio Five Live’s audience, but Radio 4’s flagship Today programme has lost listeners.

T he Olympics, Wimbledon and the return of Premiership football gave Five Live a combined reach, with digital service Five Live Sports Extra, of 6.47 million. This is up on last quarter’s reach of 6.15 million.

The influential Today programme has a reach of 6.01 million but is down 159,000 on the previous quarter and 170,000 year-on-year. The figures, covering 21 June to 12 September, show the BBC to have a share of 54.4 per cent compared with commercial radio’s 51.8 per cent. Its reach is also up at 32.5 million compared with commercial radio’s 31 million.

There was also growth in the BBC’s digital radio services.

The BBC’s local and national reach is 9.93 million, down slightly on the last quarter, which was 10.2 million.

One local success was BBC Radio Cleveland which recorded its best weekly reach of 149,000.

Commercial radio successes included a year-on-year rise for talkSPORT, and Emap’s Kerrang! 105.2’s reach was over one million for the first time.

TalkSPORT’s weekly reach was up year-on-year by 278,000 – a rise of 15 per cent. But the station claims that electronic ratings, as opposed to diary system used by RAJAR, gives TalkSPORT triple the reach.

RAJAR is starting testing of electronic measuring in a week’s time as part of its “road map to change” blueprint.

Kelvin MacKenzie, chairman of TalkSPORT’s parent Wireless Group, commented: “For four years we0have been campaigning for the adoption of electronic measurement – and all that has happened is RAJAR has come up with with yet another long and winding roadmap that provides a wealth of opportunities to delay the inevitable.”

RAJAR argues that a testing programme is required so that electronic measuring systems can prove their reliability.

By Jon Slattery

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