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Thursday, August 5, 1999 Published at 15:47 GMT 16:47 UK


Zoe's breakfast success

Snap, crackle and popularity: Zoe Ball with fiance Norman Cook

BBC Radio 1's breakfast DJ Zoe Ball has received an early wedding present - a sharp rise in her listening figures.

The broadcaster - who marries club DJ Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim, later this month - saw her audience rise by 200,000 in the latest survey from Radio Joint Audience Research Limited (Rajar), which compiles the figures on behalf of the industry.

Her breakfast show had 6.88 million listeners from April-June this year - compared with 6.68 million in the previous three months.

[ image: London's breakfast winner: Capital FM's Chris Tarrant]
London's breakfast winner: Capital FM's Chris Tarrant
Overall, Radio 1 now has a weekly reach of 10.94 million listeners - up by 100,000 - with its share of the market increasing by 0.5% to 10.3%.

BBC head of radio marketing Vanessa Griffiths said: "Zoe's going from strength to strength. She's spearheading the increased success of the station."

But it was not all good news for Radio 1 - in the competitive London market, Capital FM's Chris Tarrant increased his listenership by 63,000 while Zoe Ball lost almost 100,000 listeners, and Chris Evans lost almost a third of his audience on Virgin.

There was more bad news for Chris Evans - overall, Virgin Radio fell to 4.59 million listeners, down 50,000 from the previous quarter across its national AM and London-only FM frequencies.

5 Live also a breakfast hit

Other BBC successes include Radio 5 Live's breakfast show, hosted by Julian Worricker and Victoria Derbyshire.

The programme put on 200,000 listeners - even though the news-and-sport station usually sees audiences fall at the end of the football season.

[ image: On the up: Radio 5 Live's breakfast co-host, Julian Worricker]
On the up: Radio 5 Live's breakfast co-host, Julian Worricker
A BBC spokeswoman said: "It shows that more and more people are tuning in to Radio 5 Live for news and current affairs rather than just sport."

Overall, Radio 5 Live's audience went up by over 110,000 to 5.94 million, while Radio 2 gained 180,000 and now has a listenership of 9.85 million.

But Radio 4 fared badly. It now has 9.19 million listeners, a loss of 280,000 listeners.

Radio 3 also fell by over 300,000, to 1.94 million. Its rival, Classic FM, lost 50,000 listeners and now has 5.98 million listeners.

Talk Radio - which is now competing with the BBC for rights to sports events - fell by 50,000 to 2.26 million.

Across the country, commercial stations have slipped ahead of BBC stations in the battle for listeners, commanding 49.2% of listening compared to 49%.

The figures are the second to be compiled under a new system, which Rajar believes will make them more accurate and up-to-date.

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