UK radio company Capital has confirmed the projected slump in radio advertising spend for the three months leading up to the end of 2004.

But like its potential merger partner, GWR, the London-based group remains confident about the industry's foreseeable future [WAMN: 24-Nov-2004] as it announced its profits for the year to September.

Ceo David Mansfield says pre-tax profits for the period were up to £23.7 million ($44.5m, €33.8m) from £22.8m, in line with forecasts.

He says: "In 2004, we delivered the group's best year-on-year growth performance for four years and retained commercial brand leadership in the important London market. Despite a tough advertising quarter, we remain confident in the prospects for radio."

Mansfield also promises a £1.5m marketing push for two of the group's younger brands, Xfm and Choice.

Xfm is sold to advertisers as a national station, with radio audience measuring body, RAJAR, figures showing more than 100,000 of its 679,000 listeners come from digital platforms such as Sky Digital and cable TV rather than from the analogue reception area in London. Its target is one million listeners.

Capital also wants to build Choice into the UK's leading urban music brand by boosting its presence on new platforms.

Capital and GWR are waiting for a decision before Christmas from the government's Office of Fair Trading on whether their proposed £650m merger will be referred to the competition watchdog.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff