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GWR unveils flat revenues despite Classic FM success

LONDON - Radio station owner GWR said 2002 third-quarter radio revenues remained flat year on year despite a 14% rise in airtime revenues at its flagship station Classic FM.

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The company said national revenues at its local radio group were also flat, while local airtime revenues at the division fell 4% for the three months to December 31.

In a trading statement, GWR said it expects the outlook to improve in the fourth quarter, boosted by a 5% like-for-like growth in UK radio revenues in January. However, the company said it remains "cautious about the advertising outlook".

The company also announced it has appointed former Woolworths managing director Mair Barnes to its board as a non-executive director. Barnes is also non-executive director of Scottish Power, Littlewoods, Patientline, Woolworths Holdings Ltd (South Africa) and is an independent board member of the Department of Trade and Industry.

The news came as Classic FM increased its share of UK listeners to 4.7%, up from 4.5% the previous year in the latest set of Rajars for the September-December 2002 quarter. The station has hired a number of new presenters, including Katie Derham and Stephen Fry, as part of its strategy to appeal to younger listeners. The station's weekly reach dropped to 6.657m from 6.698m last year.

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