Nick Ferrari helps LBC to record quarter as Zoe Ball stems decline in listeners

David Prior's picture

London talk radio station LBC posted a record set of numbers in the latest Rajar figures, fuelled by a news-heavy quarter dominated by Brexit and the general election.

The Global-owned station, which also includes new digital station LBC News, has a weekly audience of 2.7million listeners, up more than 23% year on year.

Its breakfast show, hosted by Nick Ferrari, attracted more than 1.5m listeners.

Capital Breakfast with Roman Kemp achieved 950,000 listeners, up 242,000 on the previous quarter.

Ashley Tabor-King OBE, Founder & Executive President of Global, said: “It’s fantastic to see LBC’s meteoric growth continue, smashing another record with 2.7million weekly listeners.

"Another highlight is the huge growth of Roman Kemp’s Capital Breakfast show. Roman is beating the jungle drums impressively, adding 242,000 listeners in London. These figures from the Global portfolio are representative of our focus on reaching and engaging with listeners and the hard work of every Globaller.”

Meanwhile, Zoe Ball appears to have reversed the decline in listeners to her BBC Radio 2 breakfast show, industry figures have revealed.

Data from Rajar shows that Ball's breakfast show attracted a weekly audience of 8.24million in the fourth quarter of 2019.

That's almost a million down on Chris Evans' last three months in the job, in the final quarter of 2018, but 335,000 more than Ball's previous quarter.

Meanwhile, the busy news agenda towards the end of 2019 - which included a general election and the continuing Brexit saga - prompted increases for Radio 4's Today programme and 5 Live.

Today brought in an average weekly audience of 7.17m, up 568,000 on the previous quarter.

Last week it was announced that the programme's editor, Sarah Sands, would be standing down after three years in the role.

BBC Radio 5 Live's breakfast show, fronted by Nicky Campbell and Rachel Burden, increased by 264,000 listeners to reach an average weekly audience of 2.22m.

Greg James’s Radio 1 breakfast show fell from 5.1m in late 2018 to 4.8m last quarter, with total listener numbers for the station the lowest ever, at 8.8million.

But the BBC’s total audience share was up 2% to 51%.

James Purnell, the BBC’s head of radio, said: “The latest figures show some of the challenges we face across the radio industry with retaining a live listening habit amongst young people, whose audio consumption is rapidly changing. We are focused on keeping live listening strong and looking for new ways to do so, but we also want to ensure we offer more for our audiences however they want to listen.”

Data from industry body Rajar shows Ball's breakfast show attracted an average weekly audience of 8.24 million in the fourth quarter of 2019.

It is a reversal of fortunes for the programme, which lost 1.14m listeners over the previous two quarters.