Rajars show LBC and Five Live revamps paid off

The new line-up of journalists at the revamped commercial speech-based radio station LBC 97.3FM has boosted the number of listeners by around 17 per cent, according to the latest figures released by RAJAR last week.

The introduction of LBC veteran Brian Hayes, ITN newscaster Angela Rippon, Nick Ferrari, Penny Smith, Sandy Gall and Jane Moore to the roster brought more pairs of ears to the London station, which re-launched in January. Its weekly reach rose to 441,000 listeners in the quarter ending 31 March, from 377,000 in the previous quarter.

However, the station’s rolling news counterpart (formerly News Direct) which swapped over to 1152 medium wave, fared less well as its weekly reach fell to 447,000 from 482,000, a drop of 7.8 per cent.

Audience share for LBC 97.3FM fell from 2.1 per cent of London’s listeners to 1.5 per cent. While LBC News 1152AM’s was up from 1 per cent to 1.8 per cent.

On the national radio front, the build-up to the war in Iraq helped push BBC Radio 4 listeners over the 10 million mark for the first time to 10.03 million, up from 9.9 million in the same quarter last year and 9.8 million in the previous quarter. This gave it an overall audience share of 11.8 per cent, up 0.4 per cent on the same quarter last year. The flagship Today programme, hosted by John Humphrys, pulled in 6.55 million listeners, up 120,000 on the same period last year.

Radio Five Live, which had a reshuffle of presenters last year, found an extra 140,000 listeners a week, taking it to a total of 6.4 million in the quarter.

Nicky Campbell’s new show had an extra 250,000 tuning in year-on-year.

The breakfast show, co-presented with Victoria Derbyshire, was also up 50,000 on the last quarter, reaching 2.6 million listeners.

BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine, the former Newsnight anchor, managed to hold on to the 5.7 million listeners attained by his retired predecessor Jimmy Young.

By Wale Azeez

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