Rajars: LBC claims biggest reach for 14 years

London news and talk radio station LBC has posted its largest overall audience reach in more than 14 years, according to official data released today by Rajar.

Parent company Global Radio reported that LBC’s overall UK audience reach was 956,000 in the second quarter of the year, up 8.6 per cent from 879,000 in the first three months of the year. This included those listening on digital outside of London.

The station, which has veteran talk broadcaster James Whale and former London mayor Ken Livingstone on its roster of presenters on LBC 97.3, recorded an average of 787,000 London listeners a week in the second quarter of 2009, up 11.6 per cent on the previous quarter and 32.5 per cent on the same period in 2008.

Breakfast presenter Nick Ferrari, the former red-top tabloid newspaper journalist, had his listeners increase to more than half a million for the first time.

The BBC’s national talk radio station, Radio 5 Live, grew its audience by 6.9 per cent year on year to 6.42 million between April and June this year, this was up by 3.3 per cent on the first three months of the year.

It was the station’s biggest weekly reach since the first quarter of 2004, when it had 6.5 million listeners. However, its share fell back to 4.5 per cent from 4.7 per cent in the previous quarter and 4.6 per cent in the same period in 2008.

Radio 5 Live and its digital service 5 Live Sports Extra recorded a combined reach of 6.5 million, the networks’ biggest combined audience for seven years, up on 6.1 million in the same period last year and 6.3 million in the first three months of the year.

Radio 4 was up marginally on the previous quarter and 4.9 per cent year on year to just under 10 million listeners.

The station hasn’t been above the 10 million listener mark for since March 2003, but it has attracted around 465,000 new listeners in the past year.

Its flagship current affairs show the Today programme had a weekly reach of 6.5 million listeners during the period, up from 6.3m in the same period last year but down on the 6.7 million achieved in the first three months of the year.

UTV’s commercial national talk radio station, TalkSport, reached a weekly average of 2.4 million listeners – a year-on-year increase of just under one per cent. However, the station was down just under one per cent compared to the first three months of the year.

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