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A National Broadcast Media Survey of Radio and TV Audiences

Summer audience figures for national BBC stations, the top 8 TV stations overall, and national radio stations according to a survey done by digital audience measurement firm GfK.

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Kelvin MacKenzie's TalkSPORT station is the UK's biggest national commercial radio station, according to a survey done by digital audience measurement firm GfK.

The survey put BBC music stations Radio 1 and Radio 2 as the nation's overall favourites during this summer's heatwave, according to what is being called the first-ever national radio survey using the digital measure system.

The National Broadcast Media Survey showed that audiences for the two BBC stations from mid-July to mid-August were up by 2.25m listeners, compared with the spring. Radio 2's weekly reach rose to 17.2m over the period, while Radio 1 had 13.1m listeners.

For the summer as a whole, the survey found that BBC Radio 4 remained the most listened-to station, with a weekly reach of just over 18m, while TalkSPORT on 6.2m and Classic FM on 6.1m were the top commercial stations.

The research will be taken as further vindication for MacKenzie, who has fought a running battle with Rajar, which currently produces the UK's official listening figures for radio. The reach given to it by Gfk compares to just 2,249,000 given to TalkSPORT in the most recent Rajars.

Controversy blew up over Radiocontrol in August when MacKenzie, who is head of TalkSPORT and The Wireless Group, threatened to sue Rajar for its refusal to use the new digital system, after testing which showed the results of the new system to be "anomalous".

MacKenzie blasted the old-fashioned diary system used by Rajar as "haphazard" and "entirely out of touch with modern listening habits", and claimed that the new system could give his station 5m more listeners, representing up to £15m in extra advertising revenue.

The system also measured figures for TV weekly reach, which showed the stability of the British public's viewing habits since the spring. BBC One remained top dog with 43.2m, followed by BBC Two with 40.2m and ITV 39.8m. Channel 4 had edged up to 37.1m, while Channel 5 was down slightly to 28.7m.

The new survey, conducted by the German group GfK Media, does away with the traditional diary-and-interview method of recording radio audiences still used by Rajar and in most countries. Instead, the survey participant wears a wristwatch, which recognises tone samples of radio stations and TV channels and therefore records viewing and listening habits.

Article by Josh Brooks, Brand Republic.

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