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Heart ends Magic's run at the top in London

LONDON - Heart has narrowly retaken the top commercial radio spot from Magic in London, according to the Rajar listening figures for the fourth quarter of 2007.

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The Global Radio station foiled its Emap/Bauer-owned rival's chance of staying at the top of the table for four quarters in a row.

Heart achieved a 6.2% share of listening to Magic's 6.1%, though its 1.84m audience reach was less than Magic's 1.97m.

In the third quarter, the pair tied on 6.2% with Magic having the edge on reach by 2.03m to 1.95m.

Heart's Jamie Theakston and Harriet Scott also won the breakfast show battle, growing their audience from 810,000 to 915,000 while Neil Fox's on Magic shrank from 885,000 to 811,000.

Former market leader Capital kept hold of third place among the commercial stations by maintaining its 4.7% share.

Johnny Vaughan's breakfast show remains London's most-listened to, though listener numbers fell to 937,000 this quarter, down from 1.03m in the third quarter.

Outside the top three, the biggest swings in listening were negative for Capital owner GCap Media and positive for its current suitor Global, as well as GMG Radio.

GCap station Gold London, formerly Capital Gold London, dived from a 1.4% third-quarter share to a 0.7% fourth-quarter share.

The August rebrand appears to have upset listeners, who dramatically thinned out from 426,000 in the third quarter to 243,000 in the fourth.

GCap this month revamped the station's breakfast show by replacing David Jensen with Capital DJ James Cannon as Erica North's co-host.

GCap's dance and urban station Choice is also struggling after recording a drop in share from 2% in the third quarter to 1.7%. A year ago, it had a 2.8% share and 595,000 listeners, now down to 485,000.

LBC 97.3, the speech radio station owned by Global, grew in popularity. Its share climbed from 3.1% last quarter to 3.8%, and its reach grew from 586,000 to 642,000.

GMG-owned classic hits station Smooth Radio seems to have managed to build its listeners' loyalty. Their number hardly changed at 475,000, but the station's share of listening rose from 1.3% to 1.7%.

Among the stations with the youngest audience profile there was little change.

Dance station Kiss, which briefly supplanted Capital in the second quarter, dropped from 4.3% to 4.2%; the station is now officially part of Bauer Radio after the German publishing company's acquisition of Emap's radio division completed yesterday.

GCap's Xfm brand rose from 1.2% to 1.3% and SMG's Virgin Radio climbed from 3.2% to 3.3%.

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