Nicky Campbell helps Radio 5 past seven million listeners

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The Independent Online

Nicky Campbell helped push Radio 5 Live to its biggest ever audience with more than seven million listeners, according to figures released today.

The station put on around 800,000 listeners in the last three months of 2010, with almost 400,000 more tuning into the breakfast show which Campbell co-hosts with Shelagh Fogarty.

She has announced she is quitting in the spring to present a lunchtime show on the station and the hunt is on find a replacement.

Names including former GMTV presenter Fiona Phillips and Countryfile's Julia Bradbury are rumoured to be in the running to take on Fogarty's role.

According to the figures, released by industry body Rajar, 7.09 million people tuned into the station weekly in the last quarter of 2010.

That is up from 6.29 million in the previous three months.

Tim Davie, director BBC Audio & Music, said the channel's success was "a tribute to its unparalleled commitment to high quality coverage of news and sport".

Radio 5 Live controller Adrian Van Klaveren said: "These are brilliant figures for us which show that audiences appreciate the way we covered some big stories like the spending review, the Chilean miners, the snow and, in sport, the Ashes and the Premier League."

There was also good news for talkSPORT which saw its weekly audience hit three million for the first time.

Its programme director Moz Dee said: "I'm very proud of our programming team, who have not just maintained the astonishing figures we saw last quarter, but actually improved on them by continuing to build credibility in sports journalism. With live rights, talkSPORT is becoming a default listen for sports fans."

Early morning rivals Chris Moyles and Chris Evans both put on listeners to their Radio 1 and Radio 2 shows respectively.

Moyles pulled in 7.4 million weekly listeners, up from 7.1 in the third quarter of the year and Evans got 8.7 million.

That figure is up from 8.4 million in the preceding quarter.

The figures cover the period when Moyles launched into a controversial on-air rant against his bosses.

Radio 4's Today Programme also attracted more listeners with a weekly reach of 6.6 million, up from 6.5 million.

The Asian Network digital station, which was previously under threat of closure, continued to perform well.

It continues to put on listeners and saw its weekly reach go from 462,000 to 477,000.

Radio 3 saw its weekly share increase from 2.1 million to 2.2 million.

Listeners to Classic FM climbed slightly from 5.6 million to 5.7 million, and in London Magic 105.4 won the title of biggest commercial station in the capital with a weekly reach of two million listeners.

Its main rivals, Heart 106.2 and Capital FM, pulled in 1.7 million weekly listeners and 1.9 million respectively.