GCap Media, Britain's largest commercial radio company, breathed a sigh of relief on Friday at sight of the latest (Q4 2005) listening data.

Compiled by RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research), co-owned by owned by the Commercial Radio Companies Association and the BBC, the numbers gave new heart to the ailing radio giant, formed last May by a £711 million ($1.25bn; €1.04bn) merger between Capital Radio and GWR.

Since when GCap's listening figures have remained in the doldrums, with a concomitant effect on advertising revenues [28-Nov-05]. Moreover, it's flagship London station Capital FM lost its lead in the key breakfast-time listening slot, the figures for which influence on listening patterns for the remainder of the day

Capital's breakfast-time show, piloted by presenter Johnny Vaugan, incurred a raft of criticism during 2005, despite which he managed to gain share in the three months to December 31, upping audiences by nearly 100,000 to 987,000 and hoisting Capital once again to top of the breakfast table.

This pleased investors. GCap stock, which has lost 27%of its value over the past three months, rallied at the news, rising 4.8% from £2.49 to £2.615.

Overall, the percentage of UK adults (15 years+) tuning-in to their radios during Q4 remained stable at 90% of the UK population. Weekly reach was 44,439,000, up by 54,000 listeners during the quarter and up 623,000 year-on-year.

  • Additional data compiled by RAJAR reveals that the number of adults who own a DAB (digital audio broadcast) radio or listen to radio via digital TV - or on the internet - increased from 23.8m in Q3 (48.1% of the adult universe) to 24.6m (49.8%) in Q4.

    Data sourced from Financial Times Online and RAJAR; additional content by WARC staff