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Thursday, 1 August, 2002, 15:43 GMT 16:43 UK
Breakfast with Cox loses appeal
Sara Cox
Cox has presented the breakfast show for two years
BBC Radio 1 breakfast host Sara Cox has lost almost a million listeners in the last 12 months, new figures have revealed.

The DJ attracts a weekly average of 6.9 million listeners over the age of four - down 900,000 on the peak she reached in the summer of 2001.

Terry Wogan
Terry Wogan is the UK's most popular breakfast host
But the station said her current ratings were being compared with an "exceptional" figure of a year ago, and that she also lost listeners this summer to morning World Cup matches.

In contrast, BBC Radio Five Live - which broadcast live commentary of many of the matches - has seen its audience increase by almost a million, to a record 6.7 million a week, in the last year.

Cox, who has been presenting the show for two years, recorded a record 7.8 million audience between April and June 2001.

Average weekly audiences
BBC Radio 1 - 10,526,000
BBC Radio 2 - 13,042,000
BBC Radio 3 - 2,021,000
BBC Radio 4 - 9,756,000
BBC Five Live - 6,659,000
Classic FM - 6,683,000
Talksport - 2,401,000
Virgin Radio - 3,106,000
Over-15s only, between 25 March - 23 June 2002
Source: Rajar/RSL
"The 7.8 million year-on-year figure that she is being measured against - that was an exceptional quarter last year," a spokesman for the station told BBC News Online.

It was the biggest audience she had ever had, and was also bigger than anything Zoe Ball had, he pointed out.

"The World Cup was a huge phenomenon, and a lot of those big games were on when Sara was on, and that will have impacted."

Cox was overtaken by BBC Radio 2's Terry Wogan as the UK's most popular breakfast DJ earlier in 2002.

An average of 7.4 million over-15-year-olds tuned into Wogan on weekday mornings between April and June 2002, the figures from industry body Radio Joint Audience Research Limited (Rajar) revealed.

Alan Green provided the commentary for the World Cup Final live from Japan
Five Live was based in Japan and Korea for the World Cup
Radio 2 - which overtook Radio 1 to become the nation's most popular station in 2001 - was up again with a record audience of more than 13 million.

The BBC admitted that Five Live was boosted by the World Cup, and its coverage was praised by director of radio and music Jenny Abramsky.

"It was a brave decision by Five Live to base the network in Japan and Korea throughout the World Cup," she said.

The station's controller Bob Shennan said: "This stunning audience success shows how important radio was in bringing the drama of this World Cup to the whole of the UK."

Different

Its main rival in sports radio, Talksport, saw an increase of 8% to 2.4 million per week in the last year.

Classic FM, whose audience went up by 360,000 in the last 12 months, claimed it won listeners who were trying to avoid the football.

"At a time when sports stations such as Radio Five Live have picked up listeners with their World Cup coverage, those who are not so interested in football have come to Classic FM for something a little different," managing editor Darren Henley said.

See also:

09 May 02 | TV and Radio
18 Feb 02 | TV and Radio
21 Mar 02 | TV and Radio
02 Aug 01 | TV and Radio
10 May 01 | TV and Radio
31 Jan 02 | TV and Radio
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