Rajar Q4 2011: Capital network cuts through

Global Radio's Capital network has performed well in its first year, adding listeners and increasing total listening hours, while Bauer Media's Passion portfolio performed strongly in the final quarter, according to the latest Rajar figures.

Richard Park: group executive director and director of broadcasting at Global Radio
Richard Park: group executive director and director of broadcasting at Global Radio

Click here to see a full chart of the national results.

The Capital network, which launched at the beginning of 2011, had an average weekly reach of 7.08 million listeners between 18 September and 19 December 2011, up 4.7% year on year and up 0.7% when compared to the previous three months.

The total number of hours listeners tuned into the Capital network for (the metric used in trading) was 46.29 million during the quarter, a significant improvement of 6.8% year on year and 0.9% quarter on quarter.

Richard Park, group executive director and director of broadcasting at Global Radio, which three years ago took Capital under its "wing", described the network's performance as "fantastic".

Park said: "Half of the Capital stations' audiences are up, a couple of them are steady and one or two have declined slightly. The network’s reach has increased by 315,000 listeners year on year and there's a long way to go."

Bauer Media grouped its stations into either Place (stations that have a strong connection to the area in which they broadcast) and Passion (stations that are more about the music) in April last year.

The Passion portfolio, which includes dance and R&B station Kiss and rock music station Kerrang!, had an average weekly reach of 6.34 million listeners, up 1.2% year on year and up 2.7% compared to the previous three months.

Listeners tuned into the Passion network of stations for a total of 38.70 million hours every week in the fourth quarter, up 1.8% when compared to the same period of 2010 and a rise of 3.7% when compared to Q3 2011.

Bauer's Place portfolio, which includes the Magic network and city stations such as Liverpool's Radio City, had an average weekly reach of 8.78 million listeners, up 0.2% year on year and down 2.4% quarter on quarter.

The 33-station Place portfolio recorded total hours of 71.84 million hours every week, down 6.5% compared to both the final three months of 2010 and the third quarter of 2011.

The Magic network had an average weekly reach of 3.87 million, down 2.0% year on year but up marginally (0.8%) on the quarter, and a total of 23.93 million hours, down 8.3% year on year and down 8.7% quarter on quarter.

Global Radio's Heart continues to be the biggest commercial network with an average weekly reach of 7.47 million listeners in the fourth quarter, although this was down 3.6% year on year and down 2.4% when compared to the third quarter of 2011.

On average Heart stations were listened to for a total of 53.08 million hours every week in the final three months of 2011, down 8.2% compared to the same period in 2010 and down 8.3% from the third quarter of 2011.

When asked about the Heart network's performance Park said: "Listeners and hours have gone back a little bit but not by very much and I'm very comfortable with that. Heart still reaches 1.9 million listeners in London and over seven million nationally every week."

GMG Radio's Real Radio had an average weekly reach of 2.52 million listeners, up 7.0% year on year but down 3.5% quarter on quarter, and was listened to for 20.64 million hours, up 0.2% year on year but down 4.5% on the quarter.

Follow Maisie McCabe on Twitter @MaisieMcCabe

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