Radio 4 big winner in listener figures

BBC Radio 4 has added more than 750,000 listeners in the space of a year to achieve its biggest audience figures under current research methods.

The station is now listened to by 10.22 million people every week, up from 9.45 million people last year and 10 million in the previous quarter.

The figures are the highest for the station since new research methods were set up in 1999.

They were boosted by the popularity of the Today programme, which has 6.60 million listeners, an increase of nearly half a million on the same time last year. Its audience share is 16.8 per cent, the highest figure ever.

Woman's Hour gained its highest ever reach, breaking the 3 million barrier for the first time.

The total reach for the popular tale of rural life The Archers is 4.86 million, up 340,000 on the previous year.

You and Yours also recorded its highest ever reach at 3.33 million, up 273,000 year-on-year.

The battle of the breakfast shows saw a gap of almost 750,000 listeners between Sir Terry Wogan and Chris Moyles, who were almost neck-and-neck earlier this year.

Sir Terry, who announced last month that he is standing down from the job and will be replaced by Chris Evans, has 7.76 million listeners tuning in each week, slightly up on his 7.74 million last year and down on the 7.93 last quarter.

"Saviour of Radio 1" Moyles has 7.04 million listeners - up from 7.02 million last year but down by nearly 700,000 on the previous quarter, when he had 7.72 million fans tuning in.

During the latest quarter, all BBC Radio recorded a weekly audience reach of 33.58 million, up on 32.98 million this time last year.

Its share of listeners went up slightly, from 54.9 per cent last year to 55 per cent.

Tim Davie, director of BBC Audio and Music, said: "Radio 4 goes from strength to strength.

"In offering radio of the highest quality, it is both delighting loyal listeners and attracting inquisitive new audiences."

Meanwhile, Radio 3 posted its biggest audience in five years, in a period that featured heavy coverage of the BBC Proms.

The network attracts 2.2 million listeners every week, up from 1.95 million last year, in what a spokeswoman said was a "fantastic" performance.

Radio 1 drew 11.11 million listeners per week in the quarter, up from 10.87 million last year.

Radio 2's weekly reach stood at 13.62 million, up from 13.06 million last year.

Radio 5 Live Sports Extra benefited from Test Match Special coverage of the Ashes to reach a record 963,000 listeners, boosting the combined reach of 5 Live and Sports Extra by 600,000 on the year to 6.54 million.

Figures from radio research body Rajar showed that radio listening has dipped slightly since the second quarter of 2009, which was a record figure of 46.3 million listeners.

The previous figure was the highest weekly reach recorded since the new research methods were introduced a decade ago.

The latest figures showed that 45.7 million listeners or 89.2 per cent of the UK population aged 15 and over are tuning in to their favourite radio station each week.

The result is up on this time last year, when the average audience figure was 45.1 million.

Listening to radio digitally has risen by 11 per cent "year-on-year" with 17.7 million people now tuning in to radio via a digital set each week, up from 15.9 million this time last year. But is down 1 per cent from the previous quarter.

Radio listening through mobile phones has continued to grow steadily among adults aged 15 and over.

In the latest quarter, 6.9 million people were listening in this way, up 7.5 per cent from 6.4 million a year ago.

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