London news and talk radio station LBC has posted its highest audience in more than 15 years, according to official data released today by Rajar.
The station, which has veteran talk broadcaster James Whale and former London mayor Ken Livingstone on its roster of presenters, recorded an average of 705,000 listeners a week in the first three months of 2009, up 75,000 or 11.9 per cent on the previous quarter.
This also represented a gain of 4,000 listeners, or 0.6 per cent, compared with the same period last year.
The figure is LBC’s highest weekly reach since the current radio audience data methodology was introduced by Rajar in 1999. According to parent company Global Radio it is the station’s highest since 1993.
LBC continued to gain listeners outside of the capital, where it is available on DAB digital radio. Its total UK audience rose 3.2 per cent on the quarter and 6.7 per cent year on year to 879,000.
Breakfast presenter Nick Ferrari, the former red-top tabloid newspaper journalist, grew his average weekly audience by 12.5 per cent from the previous quarter to 448,000. But this was down by 3.6 per cent on the first quarter of 2008, when his programme had 465,000 listeners.
LBC’s sister station LBC News, which scaled back its rolling news coverage from 24 to 12 hours a day last summer, saw its audience dip 13.8 per cent compared with the last quarter of 2008. But it was up 39.6 per cent on last year, with 282,000 listeners a week.