Britain’s only commercial speech radio station outside London has recorded a debut weekly audience of 63,000 – about 12,000 short of expectations.
City Talk was launched by Bauer Radio last January, to coincide with the start of Liverpool’s year as European city of culture, providing 24-hour local news,
In its application to media regulator Ofcom for the Liverpool licence, City Talk set itself a first-year audience target of 75,000.
Official data released this morning by Rajar gives the 24-hour rolling news and speech station a weekly reach of 63,000 in the last three months of 2008.
Listeners tuned in for an average of 5.8 hours – higher than the five-hour target set by Bauer Radio when it applied for the licence.
City Talk beat competition from nine other applicants to launch the Merseyside station – one of the last major metropolitan FM licences available from Ofcom.
In its application, the station pledged to avoid “cheap phone-in programmes” and “the ambulance-chasing, ‘we were first on the scene’ approach”.
It was the second commercial all-talk station to go on-air outside London, following the launch of Talk 107 in Edinburgh in 2006.
But the Edinburgh station, which UTV put up for sale last year because of disappointing revenue and audience figures, closed on Christmas Eve after it failed to find a buyer, with the loss of 20 jobs.
In its final set of Rajar figures, published today, Talk 107’s audience fell 27 per cent year on year to 27,000.