Theakston drafted in to give Heart a lift

Heart, the flagship Chrysalis radio station in London, is to jettison the long-standing host of its breakfast show in favour of Jamie Theakston, in an attempt to revive its audience figures.

The company will spend up to £1m promoting Mr Theakston, 34, a former children's TV presenter and ex-Radio 1 DJ. Heart 106.2FM, which launched nearly 10 years ago and is aimed at women in their thirties, will take the fight for breakfast-time audiences to Capital Radio's 95.8FM - which installed a new morning host, Johnny Vaughan, last year. Heart also has Emap's Magic and SMG's Virgin Radio in its sights in the lucrative London market.

The retirement last year of Chris Tarrant, who hosted the market-leading breakfast show on Capital 95.8 for 20 years, kicked off a radio war in London, as rivals sensed the opportunity to steal listeners who had been loyal to Mr Tarrant. It is estimated that Capital spent £3m to £4m promoting Mr Vaughan last year.

Jono Coleman, the 46-year-old Australian who had hosted the all-important morning show on Heart for the past six years, will not have his contract renewed, Chrysalis said yesterday. He is to vacate the slot in the next few weeks.

Analysts at Numis Securities yesterday cut their 2005 profit forecast for Chrysalis from £8.5m to £7.5m. In a research note, Numis said: "Following three disappointing quarters' audience numbers in 2004, Chrysalis has taken decisive action to improve audiences.... The change in breakfast show presenter is a risk as well as an opportunity in our view."

Late in 2003, Heart briefly overtook Capital 95.8's market share overall - though not at breakfast - but it has been in retreat ever since. Last week, Heart was beaten into third place in London by Magic, in the overall figures for the last quarter of 2004. For the breakfast show, Heart recorded an audience of 748,000 for the last quarter of 2004, compared with more than 1 million at Capital 95.8.

Steve Parkinson, the managing director of Heart 106.2, said: "We're moving the station on to mirror our thirty-something market. Having a 34-year-old presenter can only be a good thing. Jamie is a good media all-rounder."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Neil Pavier: Commercial Analyst

£50,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you a professionally qualified commercial ...

Loren Hughes: Financial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Loren Hughes: Are you looking for a new opportunity that wi...

Sheridan Maine: Finance Analyst

Circa £45,000-£50,000 + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ac...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat