The radio stations of the publicly funded British Broadcasting Corporation extended their lead over commercial rivals in the final quarter of 2001, according to the latest RAJAR figures.

In total, BBC stations claimed a 53.4% share of listening, up 1.8% on the previous quarter and 1.7% year-on-year. Total commercial share, meanwhile, fell to 44.6% from 46.5% in the third quarter and 46% in Q4 2000.

Performing particularly well was BBC Radio 2, whose weekly audience rose from 10.7 million a year earlier to 12.3m, with share increasing 1.6% to 15.2%.

It was also a successful quarter for commercial station TalkSPORT, whose weekly reach hit an all-time high of 2.4m, up from 2.1m in Q4 2000, despite a fall in share of listening from 1.6% to 1.3%.

Classic FM also posted rising reach but sliding share – the former increased from 6m to 6.7m; the latter fell from 4.7% to 4.5%. Direct rival BBC Radio 3 held on to a 1.98m audience and saw its share slip from 1.2% to 1.1%.

Similarly, Capital 95.8FM polled a marginal rise in weekly audience to 8.1m, while its share of listening sank 1.5% to 10.9%. Virgin Radio, on the other hand, saw a drop in both listeners (3.4m to 3.2m) and share (2.2% to 1.8%).

Jazz FM posted a 1% decline in listeners and a 0.6% drop in share to 1%. In contrast, dance music station Kiss FM held on to its 4.2% share and increased its reach 2% to 1.6m.

News sources: BrandRepublic (UK); RAJAR