THE rise of the Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles continues and the audience for his breakfast show has reached record levels.
According to figures released yesterday by the industry body, Rajar, Moyles's morning show now has 6.5 million listeners, his highest ratings since taking over from Sara Cox in January 2004.
The self-styled saviour of Radio 1 has attracted 300,000 more listeners in the past year, and helped the station increase its audience to 10.3 million between June and September, despite the fact that listening figures usually drop in the summer holidays.
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For the first time, Moyles has become the most listened-to breakfast DJ in London, trouncing his rivals, Johnny Vaughan and Jamie Theakston.
Only Terry Wogan on Radio 2 and Radio 4's Today programme have more listeners.
The BBC's digital stations 1Xtra, BBC7 and the Asian Network also achieved record audiences. They benefited from a rise in digital listening, which has doubled to more than four million over the past year.
Radio 2 remains the nation's favourite, with 12.86 million listeners. Overall, the number of people tuning in to their radios between June and September was 44,385,000, up 1.9-per cent year on year.
Jenny Abramsky, BBC director of radio and music, said the figures "prove that radio remains relevant and appealing to young and old listeners in the digital age".
Radio 5 Live and its digital service, Five Live Sports Extra, saw their audience rise by 400,000 listeners to 6.17 million, thanks in part to coverage of the Ashes.
XfM posted a record audience of 628,000, and Virgin Radio added 100,000 listeners.
In London, Johnny Vaughan's Capital FM programme is the leading commercial breakfast show. Jamie Theakston added 163,000 to his Heart 106.2 show over the past three months - but he is still less popular than his predecessor, Jono Coleman.
In Scotland, there was good news for the commercial stations Real Radio and Radio Clyde, both of which improved their listening base.
Real Radio, which broadcasts across the central belt, can now claim to be the most listened-to radio station in Scotland, with listeners clocking up 9.09m hours perweek compared with BBC Radio Scotland's 8.08m hours.
Radio Scotland still has the highest number of listeners of any Scottish station, 966,000, but broadcasts over a much wider area than commercial stations. Real remains Scotland's No 1 commercial radio station, with 733,000 adult listeners a week, up 40,000 on the last quarter.
Its market share now stands at 17.3-per cent of total radio listening across the central belt, compared with its rival, Beat 106's, 4.7-per cent across the same area.
Billy Anderson, managing director of Real Radio, said the station's success was down to the presenters. "Our strategy was to offer listeners an alternative to BBC Radio."
He added: "If you look at the numbers who have switched to Real, it's incredible what we have achieved in only four years of broadcasting." In the west of Scotland, Clyde One remains the most popular station, with 580,000 weekly listeners, and a market share of 16.3-per cent to Real's 14.6-per cent. Clyde 2 follows with 285,000 listeners, with Saga FM clocking up a weekly audience of 185,000.
The Clyde 1 breakfast show, hosted by George Bowie remained the most popular show in the west of Scotland, by increasing its audience to 341,000.
Richard Muir, marketing manager, Radio Clyde, said:
"Our presenters have a terrific affinity with people in the west of Scotland."