BBC Radio

BBC local radio stations have suffered a 3% decline since this time last year but a 3% increase compared to the fourth quarter of 2011

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Fewer people listened to news radio in the first three months of this year compared with the same period last year, according to figures released today by audience measuring body Rajar.

Radio 4's Today programme saw a decrease in the number of weekly listeners, from more than 7 million one year ago to 6.6 million for the first quarter of this year.

Overall, Radio 4 saw a 4.8 per cent decline in listener numbers year-on-year, falling from 10.8 to 10.3 million listeners

Radio 5 Live also experienced a year-on-year drop in listeners to its breakfast show, from 2.7 million to 2.6 million, but an increase on the last quarter of 2011.

Overall there was a 4.3 per cent decline in Radio 5 Live listener numbers year-on-year, with weekly listeners reported as 6.4 million in the first quarter of this year falling from 6.6 million.

BBC local stations, which yesterday saw the level of cost savings required as part Delivering Quality First programme reduced, have seen a 3 per cent year-on-year decrease in weekly listeners, but a 3 per cent increase compared to the fourth quarter of 2011.

The BBC released a statement on local radio, stating that "weekly reach continues to grow, rising by 263,000 listeners on the quarter to 7.6 million. Market share is at 9 per cent, up from 8.4 per cent last quarter and 8.2 per cent last year, and at its highest since Q2 2008".

The release adds: "Audiences are also listening longer. Average hours listened per listener per week are now 10.30, compared to 9.65 last quarter and 9.12 last year."

The BBC World Service, which has experienced severe cuts, saw a 27.2 per cent decline in listener numbers compared with the same period last year.

London station LBC 97.3 saw a year-on-year decrease, of 7.3 per cent, falling from 935,000 to 867,000 listeners a week. LBC News saw a year-on-year decline but a 2.3 per cent rise on quarter four figures.

Talksport also saw a slight decrease, to 1.3 million weekly listeners at breakfast, and a drop to 3.2 million listeners a week overall.

According to the figures released today, 90 per cent of UK adults listened to the radio at least once a week in the first quarter of this year.

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