Pre-teens tuning in to the classics on radio

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The Independent Online

A new generation of pre-teens hooked on classical music has helped deliver a dramatic increase in the number of children listening to the radio. Classic FM says it now has 400,000 listeners under the age of 14, thanks to the station's special children's shows and its educational initiatives.

Despite the allure of television, video games and computers, more than 86 per cent of youngsters between four and 14 in Britain listen to the radio every week, the Radio Joint Audience Research Limited (Rajar) said yesterday. Since the beginning of 1999, radio has attracted 403,000 new young listeners, contributing to a 37 per cent increase in the hours children spend tuned in.

Jane O'Hara, Rajar's managing director, said: "Despite the busier lives children lead and the choices they have for entertainment, radio is important to them."

Another factor has been Radio 4's decision to reinstate Go4It, its first children's programme for a decade.