Rajar: TalkSport fails to score from summer of sport

The UK’s only national commercial speech station, TalkSport, has failed to gain listeners from a summer of sport that included the Olympic Games in Beijing.

Official listening figures released this morning by Rajar show the UTV-owned station recorded an average weekly audience of 2.31m in the three months from mid-June to mid-September.

The figure represents a three per cent drop compared with the previous quarter, and is flat year on year.

The station’s audience decline in London was sharper – down 5.5 per cent on the quarter and 12.9 per cent year on year to 580,000.

The BBC’s rival news and sport station FiveLive was up 6.2 per cent year on year to 5.83m listeners.

Digital station FiveLive Sports Extra gained 46,000 listeners compared with last summer, up 6.3 per cent to 776,000 – but both stations fell 2.9 per cent quarter on quarter.

The FiveLive breakfast show, fronted by Nicky Campbell and Shelagh Fogarty, gained 114,000 listeners year on year to record an audience of 2.4m.

TalkSport’s breakfast show with Alan Brazil also rose year on year, up from 1.09m to 1.14m.

TalkSport programme director Moz Dee – the former FiveLive managing editor who defected to the rival station earlier this year – said a shortage of Premiership football action in this quarter had stopped the station from growing its audience.

The Premiership kicked off at the end of August, and this latest set of listening figures covers the period from 23 June to 14 September.

Dee said: “In a quarter that had only five weeks of Premier League football, strong performances from [breakfast presenter Alan Brazil and afternoon presenter Ian Wright] clearly demonstrate that our continued investment in talent is paying dividends with the UK’s sports-mad men.”

Listening figures for TalkSport’s Scottish sister station, Talk 107 in Edinburgh, slipped back again following a series of schedule changes that saw the departure of former Socialist MSP Tommy Sheridan and veteran talk show host Scottie McClue.

The station, which launched in 2004, was down 9.8 per cent compared with the previous quarter, with a weekly audience of 37,000.

But it rose 27.6 per cent compared with the same period last year, when it only had 29,000 listeners.

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