Listeners continue to switch off Radio1

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The Independent Online
More grim ratings news is expected today for Radio 1, whose revamp has failed to halt dwindling audiences.

A quarterly report from an independent ratings compiler, RAJAR, is likely to show that the station is continuing to lose listeners despite the BBC's predictions that the slump would level off at the end of last year.

Stopping the downward trend will be the controller Matthew Bannister's biggest challenge in 1995.

He has already lost 6 million listeners in a year. Radio 1 had an audience of just over 11 million when October's RAJAR figures were released.

The outlook is gloomy, especially when the effects of the departure of the station's anarchic breakfast star Steve Wright are felt. It is feared up to a third of his listeners may switch off.

Although Wright has said he wants to concentrate on his television career, there are indications he may join the new rival commercial station Talk Radio.

More competition for Radio 1 in London will not help the situation, with additional new stations plus Virgin Radio's plan to start operating an FM licence in the capital.

The last RAJAR report showed commercial radio had overtaken the BBC for the first time in the independent sector's 21-year history, with 49 per cent of audience share compared with the BBC's 48.6 per cent.