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Growth at Xfm and Century sees Capital revenue up 3%

LONDON - Strong growth at Xfm and Century FM has seen Capital Radio issue an upbeat trading statement, saying that it anticipates a 3% rise in radio revenues over the past six months.

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Capital said today that radio revenues are likely to have improved by 2% in the first quarter of 2004 and that, looking ahead, April will continue to show modest revenue growth, meaning nine months of year-on-year growth for the company.

"Our revenue performance continues to be enhanced by the group's portfolio of stations across the UK and we are achieving particularly strong growth from Xfm, the Century FM Network and the recently acquired Choice FM," Capital said in a statement.

Shareholders will be keeping a keen eye on the performance of Johnny Vaughan when he takes over the all-important 95.8 Capital FM breakfast slot from Chris Tarrant on April 19.

In today's statement Capital said: "We are encouraged at the prospect of Johnny Vaughan taking over the breakfast show on 95.8 Capital FM but recognise that this will not have a material impact on our revenues until our new financial year."

At the beginning of the year 95.8 Capital FM ran an advertising campaign as part of its continuing battle with London station Heart FM, which briefly took over the slot as London's most-listened to radio station.

Capital FM regained its lead, however, with the latest Rajar figures showing that it had 2.3m listeners for the quarter ending December 2003, giving it 400,000 more than the Chrysalis-owned Heart FM.

Shares in the company rose by almost 2% this morning to 495.35p, a rise of 9.35p. Capital Radio is due to release its interim results on May 20.

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