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Heart gains in breakfast battle as R2 posts record share

LONDON - Johnny Vaughan has failed to woo the listeners for London's 95.8 Capital FM, with listening hours for the breakfast show down 13% for the last quarter as rival Heart 106.2 FM gains ground, with listening hours up 20%.

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In London, 95.8 Capital FM's breakfast show now has 1.34m listeners, down from 1.38m in the last quarter when Chris Tarrant fronted the show. Rival Heart 106.2, owned by Chrysalis, has 1.15m listeners.

With just 200,000 listeners between the two, market share between Capital and Heart now stands at 6.6% and 6.5% respectively in London.

Overall, Capital's listeners were down from 2.3m to 2.1m, while Heart's were up from 1.7m to 1.9m.

Capital's sister guitar, hip-hop and dance music station Xfm now has 255,000 listeners on its breakfast show fronted by Christian O'Connell. This was down 16% from the last quarter.

However, nationally, the station has 700,000 listeners tuning in and 577,000 in London. This has increased from 678,000 nationally and 559,000 in the last quarter.

Virgin's breakfast show, hosted by Pete and Geoff, was also down, falling 2.7% to 492,000 in the last quarter. However, nationally the station is up from 2.4 to 2.6m and from 1m to 1.1m in London.

Similarly, the Chrysalis-owned LBC 97.3 was down 31% to 316,000. In London, listening was also down to 596,000 from 697,000.

Emap's Kiss 100 and Magic 105.4 were the only other stations posting breakfast show increases this quarter. Kiss 100's breakfast show, hosted by Bam Bam, was up 9.5% to 839,000. Listeners in London are up from 1.4m to 1.5m, rising nationally from 2.3m to 2.5m. Magic FM'S breakfast show was just up 0.3% from 727,000.

Kelvin MacKenzie's TalkSPORT posted a rise of 0.7% quarter on quarter from 2.14m to 2.15m.

For the BBC, there was good news at consistent star performer Radio 2. The station posted a record share of the radio market, reaching an audience of 13.4m, an increase of 530,000 from the last quarter. Share is up to 16.2% from 15.3%.

Following BBC Radio 1's changes to the schedule this year, there has been a slight dip in listeners, with an audience of 9.73m compared with 9.85m in the previous quarter. Zane Lowe, who has assigned himself the role as music ambassador for the station, increased his weekday evening audience by 11% to 1.75m.

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