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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 May, 2003, 13:21 GMT 14:21 UK
Digital radio takes off
Digital radio set
Cheap digital sets entered shops last year
Nearly a million people tune into the top-rated digital radio station every week, according to industry figures.

Dance station Kiss 100, which broadcasts on FM in London, has recorded a weekly reach of 961,000 listeners on digital platforms outside the capital, according to figures from the Radio Audience Joint Research (Rajar) survey.

Elsewhere, BBC stations Radio 4 and Radio 2 showed an increase in weekly listeners from last year - with Radio 4 achieving a record 10.03 million.

BBC Radio 1's weekly listeners were down by about 200,000, from 10.54 million to 10.34 million, while AM station Virgin Radio recorded a weekly drop of 380,000 listeners.

These figures demonstrate clearly that people are prepared to change their listening habits
Ian Dickens, chief executive DRDB

The BBC said the Rajar report showed it had captured a record share of 53.5% of radio listeners.

The figures also revealed that digital station Kerrang! radio, a spin-off of the music magazine, recorded 771,000 listeners.

Fellow digital station Smash Hits reached 759,000 listeners a week, while Oneword radio, a speech station, reached 50,000 listeners.

The BBC World Service is included for the first time in the figures, clocking up just under 1.4 million listeners.

It also broadcasts in the UK as a digital station, although it also appears overnight on Radio 4 and can be picked up on AM in south-east England.

Listening figures
BBC Radio 4: Record reach of 10.03 million weekly listeners, up from 9.94 million last year
BBC Radio 2: Up from 12.89 million to 13.23 million
BBC Radio 1: Down to 10.34 million from 10.54 million
Virgin: Loses 384,000 weekly listeners on AM - down to 2.09 million
Source: Rajar/RSL

Another BBC digital station, the Asian Network, recorded 433,000 listeners, although 150,000 of these listened through broadcasts on AM in parts of England.

The body responsible for promoting and marketing digital radio in the UK - the Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB) - hailed the results as "encouraging".

Chief executive Ian Dickens said: "These figures show there is a demand for innovative, fresh radio programming across all age groups.

Many listeners tune in through TV
"Digital radio broadcasting in the UK is still in its infancy. These figures demonstrate clearly that people are prepared to change their listening habits when they are offered something new."

Radio listeners can access digital services through digital radios, the internet and digital television.

The DRDB says most people are tuning in through their digital TV sets - on platforms such as Sky, Freeview, and cable.

According to Rajar, 18.6% of the adult population listens to radio via digital TV, and 61% of those people tune once a week.

The Rajar figures do not identify the number of people listening on a particular platform.

About 155,000 digital radio sets are on the market.


The DRDB estimates that by the end of the year this number will rise to 500,000 - and to a million by December 2004.

Meanwhile, BBC Radio 4 clocked up 10.03 million listeners a week, up from 9.94 million last year - a record for the speech network.

Radio 2 was also up compared with last year, but Radio 1 saw a fall in listeners to 10.34m, down 200,000 over the year.

In London, Capital FM recorded another drop in listeners, to 2.41m - down from 2.69m this time last year.

The station, which has Chris Tarrant as a breakfast DJ, has come under pressure from rival music station Heart, as well as recently revamped speech stations LBC and BBC London - all of which have recorded rises.




SEE ALSO:
Digital radio's Kiss of life
08 May 03  |  Entertainment
Digital radio sales boom
20 Nov 02  |  Entertainment
Digital radio and me
19 Aug 02  |  Entertainment


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