Annual revenues for commercial radio have reached their best ever level.

Total revenue for the year ended March 2004 reached £611.6 million ($1.1 billion; €925m), a year-on-year rise of nearly 8%, the Radio Advertising Bureau reported.

Revenues for the last quarter totalled nearly £106 million, a 7.5% rise on the same period in the previous year.

RAB attributes the upturn to the decision of major national advertisers like Procter & Gamble, rival Lever Faberge and food retailer Sainsbury to invest heavily in radio.

Although still a small player compared with broadcast and print, the medium has been enjoying an advertising upturn and recorded more than 11% growth since 2001.

According to RAB the signs indicate that the good times will continue.

The industry is hoping that more advertisers will be attracted to digital radio which the body claims offers more targeting opportunities.

Recent listener figures from Rajar, the radio audience measurement system, indicate more people are spending longer listening to radio.

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