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Snow helps BBC local stations

The election, together with weeks of bad weather in the UK has helped local BBC radio stations gain an extra one million listeners between them.

Across the 40 local radio stations in England weekly reach for Q1 2010 was 18.6 per cent, up 2.4 per cent on the previous quarter.

Stations which had a significant increase include Radio Cumbria, Hereford and Worcester, BBC Oxford, Radio Cambridgeshire and Radio Berkshire.

David Holdsworth, BBC Controller of English Regions welcomed the figures saying: “It is encouraging that people feel they can trust and turn to the BBC, particularly during times of crisis such as the heavy snowfalls that affected much of the country this winter. This is partly why local radio is such a valuable asset.

“However we cannot be complacent as BBC local radio has been grappling with longer term challenges to our audience figures for some time as the media landscape has changed. We know we have to continually work hard and focus on providing quality and independent journalism – such as our recent General Election coverage – outstanding programmes and content that local people can identify with to best serve our audiences.”

On average 7.7m listeners tuned into BBC local radio in England each week, up by 1m on the previous quarter and up by 430,000 on the equivalent Q1 last year.

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