Tuesday, August 06, 2002

THE WORLD IS TURNING ON... OFF... ON: And you thought we'd let the Rajar figures pass without a murmur, did you? The audience figures for the quarter to June 2002 are in, and as you've probably had brow beaten into you, the Radio One breakfast show is in apparent trouble again - although, really, year-on-year comparisons are rendered pointless what with the intrusion of the world cup in the period covered, at breakfast time. More interesting is the position of Juice - not the Liverpool station, which has improved at least its audience figures since the days when it was Crash FM - but the sister station in Brighton. When Forever, the parent of Juice, bought Surf in December 2000, the press were told "In the RAJAR survey for the third Quarter 2000, Surf had 35,000 listeners listening for 5.1 hours each, giving total listening of 179,000 hours. The Directors of Forever believe that they can substantially improve on this performance, through changes in branding, music emphasis and marketing." Admittedly, these are figures for Quarter 2, but Juice (the new name and format) stands at 42,000 listeners, listening for 5.8 hours, making a total of 243,000 hours - not, perhaps, the most substantial improvement. Indeed, in this quarter, Juice managed 3.2% of listening in its area - in the same quarter when it was a local service and less keen to ape Capital's Southern FM chart-based programming, it was getting 3.5%. The upshot of these numbers means: Forever took a locally focussed left-field station, changed it to a blander mix, and didn't see much of a flicker in listening. Probably no wonder they lost a million last year.

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