Capital widens gap as Tarrant hands over to Vaughan

LONDON - Chris Tarrant handed over the 95.8 Capital FM breakfast show to Johnny Vaughan with 133,000 extra listeners as Radio 1's Chris Moyles grabbed another 400,000 listeners in the Rajar figures for the first quarter of 2004.

The Capital breakfast show now has 1.38m listeners, widening the gap to its nearest competitor Heart 106.2 FM. Its share of listening hours has also risen from 8.9% to 10%. Nationally, the station has 2.34m listeners, an increase of 37,000 from the last quarter. Share of listening hours has marginally grown from 7.8% to 7.9%.

Rival Heart 106.2 has continued to lose ground with 1.78m listeners nationally, compared with 1.9m last quarter. Its share of listening hours is also down from 7% to 5.8%.

BBC Radio 1's audience grew by more than 400,000 in the quarter that saw Chris Moyles take over the breakfast show. It reach was marginally up last quarter, rising to 9.84m from 9.44m, however its share of listening hours has fallen marginally from 42% to 41.5%.

Capital's alternative guitar, hip-hop and dance music station Xfm, which recently picked up four Sony nominations, celebrates an all-time record as its reach hit 678,000 adult listeners, compared with 614,000 last quarter. In London, Xfm had 559,000 adults tuning in. Overall, the station has seen a 26% increase year on year.

Three of the station's Sony nominations are for the Christian O'Connell breakfast show, which is up 80,000 listeners year on year. Nationally the show stands at 334,000 listeners, up 18% from the last quarter, with its reach in London at 297,000.

Emap's Kiss 100 FM and Magic 105.4 each posted increases this quarter. Kiss 100 remains the top station for young London, with reach increasing from 1.38m to 1.47m. The Bam Bam breakfast show has 766,000 listeners, a 7% rise quarter on quarter. Magic 105.4 also posted its best figures for four years. Reach was up to 1.46m from 1.38m in the last quarter. The station claims that hours have increased year on year to 10.5m.

BBC Radio 2 remains dominant if down slightly. Share of listening hours fell from 16% to 15.3% and reach also dipped to 12.9m from 13.15m last year. However, the station claims that Jonathan Ross had his highest audience figure to date of 3.59m.

BBC Radio Five Live, which now reports a shared reach figure with its digital service Five Live Sports Extra, increased its reach to 6.52m. Its share is at 5.1%, beating its World Cup share, which was 4.4%. Radio Five Live said that increases come from across the schedule, in news, sport and the new breakfast combination of Nicky Campbell and Shelagh Fogarty.

Kelvin MacKenzie's TalkSPORT had 2.1m listeners a week in the last quarter, up 15% from the previous quarter, making it the number three commercial station in the UK. However, the row ensues between Gfk's electronic measurement system and Rajar, with Gfk issuing a statement today that claims TalkSPORT has three times the audience, at 6.3m, that Rajar claims.

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