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Thursday, 10 May, 2001, 15:58 GMT 16:58 UK
Radio 2 becomes number one
BBC Radio 2's Terry Wogan
Wogan: Presented Radio 2's breakfast show since 1993
BBC Radio 2 has become the most popular radio station in the country, overtaking Radio 1 for the first time.

New audience figures reveal that Radio 2 now reaches 10.9 million listeners per week - a record since current counting methods were first used two years ago.

It has surpassed Radio 1's audience figure, which fell by almost 400,000 to 10.3 million in the last three months.


We are providing our listeners with 'the best seat in the house'

Jim Moir
Radio 2 controller
Radio 2 has been undergoing a revival in recent years, attracting more listeners through a broader range of music, new DJs and a modernisation of its image.

It was recently named national station of the year at the Sony radio awards, where it also won four other awards.

DJs like Jonathan Ross, Stuart Maconie, Terry Wogan and Steve Wright have been credited with turning the station's fortunes around.

Ross, who presents a Saturday morning show, has added 300,000 listeners in the last three months. And afternoon host Wright has increased his figures by 200,000.

BBC Radio 2's Jonathan Ross
Ross: Saturday BBC Radio 2 show is a hit
Radio 2 was already the favourite station in the country in terms of listener hours.

The station's fans listen for an average of 13.4 hours per week, compared to Radio 1's 9.1 hours.

Radio 2 controller Jim Moir said of the new figures: "I'm delighted - it confirms that our star presenters, the music we play and the programmes we broadcast are striking the right note with the audience.

"We are providing our listeners with 'the best seat in the house' for the top artists in a very buoyant music scene."

Radio 1 has not been able to stop its decline in audience figures. It has lost almost one million listeners in the last year.

The last quarterly slump has been blamed on Simon Mayo's move to Radio 5Live.

BBC Radio 1's Sara Cox
Cox: Increased audience despite Radio 1 slump
Some shows have seen an increase, though. Sara Cox's breakfast show - which recently changed its timeslot to 0700-1000 - attracted 7.1 million listeners per week, slightly up on the last period.

A Radio 1 spokesman said: "Over the last year the majority of our losses have been over-35s. Things have been going according to plan and we have been reaching a younger audience."

Radio 1's target audience is 15- to 24-year-olds, and the station is listened to by just over half of the target age group, according to the spokesman.

Radio 4 has increased its audience levels to just over nine million listeners per week, with Radio 5Live and Radio 3 attracting 5.7 million and 1.9 million respectively.

The figures were compiled by Radio Joint Audience Research (RAJAR), which is jointly owned by the BBC and commercial stations.


Nick Higham writes for BBC News OnlineDear diary
Nick Higham on counting radio listeners
See also:

08 May 01 | TV and Radio
Radio's diary woes
01 May 01 | TV and Radio
Tarrant plea at radio Oscars
01 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Wogan a winner for Radio 2
23 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Sir Paul launches new Mayo show
25 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Virgin drops teen groups
02 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Breakfast rejects boost Radio 1
03 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Cox is BBC's breakfast toast
11 May 00 | UK
Net boosts radio figures
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