The Local Radio Company are celebrating a jump in listening hours in today's RAJAR figures, although there's a mixed picture across most of the group's 28 stations around the country. Overall, TLRC's total hours are up to almost 7.7million – an extra 800,000 hours more than this time last year.
Total reach for the group is up slightly to 927,000 listeners per week, a reach of 21 percent in the areas covered by its stations. Across TLRC's portfolio of stations, listeners are tuning in for an average 8.3 hours per week now, compared with 8.1 in Q3/07 and 7.5 in Q4/06.
Commenting on the figures, Richard Wheatly, Executive Chairman of TLRC, said: "I am delighted that we have once again increased total listening hours across our network of stations. The increase, which is in excess of 10 percent year on year, further validates our strategy of focusing on providing high quality broadcasting to local audiences across the country."
New Swindon station Brunel FM debuts in RAJAR with a 15,000 reach (8 percent) and average hours of 9 per listener, giving them a 3.3 percent share of the market. It's a reasonable start for a town where GWR has been so strong for many years.
Around the rest of the group it's a mixed picture for individual stations. Among the winners this time round are Arrow FM, Stray FM and Sun FM. Losing out though are Durham FM, Minster FM and Isle of Wight Radio.
At Arrow in Hastings, the weekly reach of 27,000 is the best it's been in 8 years, and the current market share of 8.2 percent is the highest since Q1/03.
Celebration too at the most northerly of the group's English stations – Sun FM in Sunderland. Another quarter on quarter increase on reach puts them at 80,000 a week (29 percent) – that's a rise of 14,000 over the last 12 months.
Stray's hours refelect the group situation and are the station's best in 3 years (10.2 average per week), although this is coupled with a slight drop in reach. North Yorkshire neighbour Minster FM has a similar story with a 6,000 drop in reach quarter on quarter – but a big jump in average hours to 11.3, giving the York-based station its best market share since Q2/05.
Durham FM's reach remains fairly constant but its average hours are down to just 5.9 (compared with 8.1 in Q3/07), so market share falls as a result.
On the Isle of Wight, TLRC's station lost 4 percentage points in reach in the last quarter, so drops to 32 percent. That's down from 42 percent year on year, and means the current 39,000 listeners a week is the lowest reach since Q2/05. Reflecting the story of the group though, those that do listen are listening longer, so hours are up and share remains fairly constant.
Please note: Any figures compared year-on-year are subject to further investigation due to the introduction of a new survey by RAJAR from June '07.