Friday, August 01, 2003

LET'S PRETEND IT'LL RETURN: We're sure this page will return, so we'll press on. Yes, yesterday it was the ratings day for UK Radio, and the big story was that Radio 1 had slipped below ten million listeners for the first time in its history. Which, while psychologically wobbly, isn't going to turn out to be quite as dire as it sounds - this is the last set of Rajar figures which doesn't include 6Music and 1Xtra, and it's a fairly safe bet that those many of the Radio 1 audience who haven't shifted over to Radio 2 will be found lurking round there. Radio 1 is probably the station most at risk from losing listeners to the digital services (on radio, TV and the web), and even if it still manages to keep its reach up in the New Media World, it's likely its share of listening is going to take a drop (in other words, people will tune in, but listen for shorter periods) as more and more niche services open up. It's a bit rich of the Guardian to suggest that the drop this time has anything to do with Zane Lowe - he wasn't on board for this sweep of ratings, although the Murray Interregnum can't have helped. What's most pressing is sorting out Breakfast; it's looking clearer and clearer that Sara Cox isn't working there any more, although it's hard to see where they'll find a replacement (Wes Butters Your Toast? Can't see that, somehow). The Independent points out that in London, Cox's show now trails Chris Tarrant on Capital. And Wogan, of course. And The Today Programme. Plus Classic FM, Heart, Kiss and even lowly Magic. (Not, you'll note, Virgin - which is even worse news for them).

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