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BBC ascendant in national Rajars

LONDON - BBC Radio's share of national listening has risen close to its record level of 56%, with TalkSport a rare bright spot for commercial radio, according to the Rajar listening figures for the fourth quarter of 2007.

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The corporation's share rose from 54.4% in the third quarter to 55.4%, close to the high it managed in the first quarter.

All of the BBC's national stations managed to increase its breakfast show audience, with Chris Moyles attracting an extra 200,000 listeners. His weekly reach is now 7.31m listeners, closing in on Terry Wogan's Radio 2 audience of 7.73m.

Radio 4 grew its share of listening from 11.2% to 11.8% and Radio 5 Live from 4.2% to 4.6%. This compensated for Radio 1's drop from 10.6% to 10.3% and Radio 2's from 15.8% to 15.7%.

Commercial radio's overall share dropped from 43.3% to 42.4%, with few increases in listening at an individual level for national and quasi-national stations.

TalkSport, which started broadcasting Saturday afternoon Premier League football games this season, was one of those few stations to increase its share of listeners. Its climbed from 1.8% in the third quarter to 2%. The station's reach grew from 2.31m to 2.45m.

Only two other quasi-national brands achieved a share increase. GMG's Smooth network also rose from 1.8% to 2%, while Global Radio's Heart was up from 2.3% to 2.4%.

Many commercial stations were static from quarter to quarter, but many of those that fell were youth-focused.

Among them were dance music stations Choice, down from 0.5% to 0.4%; Galaxy, down from 1.8% to 1.6%; and Kiss, down from 0.7% to 0.6%. Rock station Kerrang! dropped from 0.7% to 0.6% and indie station Xfm was down from 0.7% to 0.6%.

All five stations lost listeners, with Choice down by a fifth from 784,000 to 622,000. The other four experienced gentler falls, with Kerrang worst off after losing 6.3% of its reach from 1.43m to 1.34m.

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