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Thursday, 25 October, 2001, 15:59 GMT 16:59 UK
Chris Evans trumped in ratings
Steve Penk
Penk has proved his doubters wrong by upping ratings
Virgin Radio appears to have been vindicated in its decision to oust Chris Evans from its breakfast show after his replacement Steve Penk added 300,000 extra listeners.

Evans was unceremoniously dumped from the show after going on sick leave and then being spotted in a pub with his new wife Billie Piper.

Chris Evans
Evans was sacked by Virgin after several days' absence
Penk, who had previously been at Capital Radio, has since seen his audience rise in the three months since he started.

Doubters had predicted the station's audience would dwindle once its biggest name left the airwaves.

'Result'

But Penk has taken the audience for the commercial station to more than two million for the first time in a year.

Penk said: "It's a result - what a way to start. It's a great show to do and I love it. There's more to come."

And BBC radio stations have also had a good showing in the Radio Joint Audience Research (Rajar) figures.

BBC Radio 2 continues to perform well, picking up an extra two million listeners in the past year.

Terry Wogan
Terry Wogan's brand of morning chit chat continues to attract listeners
It now has about one million more listeners than the youth-orientated Radio 1, which has seen its audience fall by 250,000 to 11.2 million.

Among the biggest draws are Terry Wogan's Breakfast Show, which gained 1.2 million listeners and Steve Wright's afternoon slot, which added another one million fans.

Jonathan Ross's Saturday morning show is also one of the most popular on the station and has seen an extra 580,000 people tune in, giving it an audience of just over three million.

Dumbing down

The comic's award-winning programme has inspired a television chat show which is due to go out in November.

Station boss Jim Moir has been credited with the successful overhaul of the station in recent years, attracting listeners who have felt marginalised by the youthful Radio 1.

Simon Mayo's decision to leave Radio 1 for Radio 5 Live raised eyebrows in some circles, with critics saying the news and sport channel was dumbing down.

But listeners have been impressed with the transition, borne out by the 350,000 rise in his audience.

Classic FM is another success story in the radio ratings, gaining its largest ever audience of 6.4 million.

See also:

27 Nov 00 | Entertainment
DJ Mayo leaves Radio 1
28 Jun 01 | Showbiz
Virgin axes DJ Evans
10 May 01 | TV and Radio
Radio 2 becomes number one
23 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Sir Paul launches new Mayo show
08 May 01 | Showbiz
The decline of the Ginger prince
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