Wogan reigns as king of breakfast radio

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The Independent Online

Chris Moyles's listening figures have gone up - despite him causing controversy over near-the-knuckle remarks he has made on his radio show.

Figures released by radio body Rajar for the final quarter of 2008 also showed that Sir Terry Wogan remains the breakfast king, with 7.96 million listeners tuning in each week, up from 7.74 million in the previous quarter and 7.73 million the previous year.

The Chris Moyles Show has 7.3 million listeners - up from 7.02 million in the previous quarter and a slight drop from 7.31 million the previous year.

Earlier this month, the BBC expressed regret over jokes by Moyles about Auschwitz concentration camp and gay singer Will Young.

And in December Moyles apologised for seeming to suggest on his Radio 1 show that Polish people make good prostitutes.

Radio 4 has added half a million listeners and recorded its highest listener share - buoyed by a strong performance from the Today programme.

The station now has 9.81 million listeners - up from 9.29 million last year and 9.45 million last quarter.

It recorded its highest listener reach since the start of 2003.

During the end of 2008 it posted a "record" share of 12.4 per cent - up from 11.8 per cent the previous year and 11.5 per cent the previous quarter.

A BBC insider said of the huge jump: "It could be to do with the fact that this period includes the big economic crisis and the credit crunch.

"In times of trouble, people do turn to Radio 4 news and the Today programme."

The Today programme has 6.60 million listeners - up nearly half a million from the previous quarter and its largest audience since the end of 2001.

All BBC Radio now reaches 33.52 million listeners, up from 33.14 million the previous year and an increase on 32.98 million the previous quarter.

It has a listener share of 55.7 per cent, up from from 55.4 per cent the previous year and 54.9 per cent last quarter.

Radio 1 drew 10.58 million listeners per week in the quarter, down from 10.69 million the previous year and 10.87 million last quarter.

Its listener share - at 10.1 per cent - is up on last quarter (9.8 per cent) but slightly down on last year (10.3 per cent).

Radio 2 has a weekly reach of 13.47 million listeners - up from 13.06 million the previous quarter and 12.82 million last year.

Its listener share, at 15.8 per cent, is level with the previous year (15.7 per cent) and slightly down on the last quarter, when it was 16 per cent.

Rajar said that radio listening has increased by around 400,000 to a high of 45.5 million listeners a week, from 45.08 million the previous quarter.

The figure is the highest weekly reach reported since the second quarter of 2007, when a record 45.62 million listeners tuned in each week.

Listening to radio digitally has increased by almost 10 per cent year on year and nearly one third of the population (32.2 per cent) now tune in to radio via a digitally enabled set each week.

Data collected for the last quarter of 2008 revealed that 18.3 per cent of all radio listening is now via a digital platform, compared with 16.6 per cent in the same period in 2007.

DAB set ownership has risen again by 35 per cent year on year, with 29.7 per cent of adults now living in a household which has a DAB receiver.

Radio listening via mobile phone has also grown steadily among adults, rising by almost a third in the space of a year.

In the last quarter of 2007 the figure was 9.4 per cent and in the last quarter of 2008 it was 12.3 per cent.

There was a steeper rise in the 15 to 24-year-old age group, 31.1 per cent of whom say they have listened to the radio in this way, an increase year on year of 39 per cent, Rajar said.