London Radio Stations - Listening Figures

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Which are the most popular stations?

Listening figures for quarter 4 of 1998 were released in February 1999. Here's a graph showing results for the London stations for the quarters 2 and 4 in 1998. The stations are in decending order based on quarter 4's results.

[Graph showing share of listening for stations in descending order, 1998 quarter 2 and quarter 4]

This is a graph showing listening figures, based on RAJAR statistics. (See just below for information about RAJAR). The graph gives a feel for which are the big stations in terms of listeners. Note however that there are some important points to bear in mind:

2-Ten FM, for example, has a large share but is not a London station. 2-Ten is a station based in Reading where there is less station choice. So we can say that 2-Ten FM (at 22.7%) accounts for nearly a quarter of all radio listening in its target area.

Stations having a good share of listening are to the left on the chart. The purely London-based station with the biggest share of listening is Capital FM (15.5%) and it has been that way for some time. Next come three BBC nationals - 2, 1 and 4. The next London-only station is Magic 105.4 which now has 5.8% share, improved from 4.9% in quarter 2. This station is now owned by EMAP and has changed name from Melody FM.

Heart, Virgin and Capital Gold, towards the middle of the chart, have all lost listeners. Capital Gold Kent's listening has dropped from 3 to 1.6%. Note that 107.8 FM Thames Radio were not included in the quarter 2 survey so there is no yellow bar for them. XFM, owned by Capital, is another station that has lost listeners.

Those that have gained include RTL Country 1035 AM, Sunrise Radio, Kiss 100, Choice FM and the AM station Liberty who are stating they are the fastest growing AM London station on air (0.1 to 0.2% share).

GLR, the BBC local service for London, makes a poor showing at 0.8% (no change). This is a long way behind the equivalent services from the BBC for the neighbouring counties (BBC Essex for example has 12.3%). This is probably due to the large choice of formats for listeners in London compared to the other areas.

RAJAR stands for Radio Joint Audience Research Ltd. RAJAR was established to operate a single audience measurement system for the radio industry - the BBC and commercial stations. Households are chosen at random and they are asked to fill in a diary detailing radio listening in quarter (daytime) or half hour (over-night) segments.

In my opinion RAJAR figures are based on very small sample size, so you should not put too much emphasis on the chart. For the London area there is a minimum sample size of 2470 adults (from the RAJAR Service Overview document 4th edition, May 1997). That's about 0.03% (assuming a population of 8 million) and isn't really sufficient to give an accurate picture of radio listening throughout the capital, especially when many of the stations can be considered to have a specialist output (Premier Christian Radio, Jazz FM and RTL Country 1035 AM for example).

The figures used to produce the graph were from the RAJAR website.

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London Radio Stations - Listening Figures

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Originally created on 19 January 1997
 (Copyright) Paul Baker, Maidenhead England, 1998-2006
Last updated 16 October 2006