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Radio stations vie for listeners in ratings war

REAL Radio has attracted a record number of listeners to become the leading commercial station in Scotland for the first time in 30 years. Its weekly audience rose by 34,000 in the six months ending last month, according to research released by Rajar, the radio industry body.

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Real Radio, with 688,000 listeners, eclipsed Radio Clyde, which recorded 680,000 listeners a week with Clyde 1 FM. In the station's own central belt transmission area, it has also achieved bigger audiences than any of the BBC stations. Shaun Bowron, station managing director at Real Radio, said: ''This is what we've aimed for since we launched. We are now Scotland's number one commercial station in reach and market share and to achieve this in such a competitive market, where you have heritage brands, is testament to the fact that we consistently deliver what the listeners want.'' However, Radio Clyde said the figures did not compare like with like, because Radio Clyde covers Glasgow and the west of Scotland while Real Radio covers central Scotland. A Clyde spokesman said: ''Real Radio may have more listeners overall but we have more in the west of Scotland.'' He said the station's reach had gone up from 45% to 47% with an additional 25,000 new listeners tuning in, making it the number one for Glasgow and the west of Scotland. Paul Cooney, Radio Clyde's managing director, said: ''Our audience is up a further incredible 25,000 listeners - that's on top of 32,000 new listeners that we gained in the last quarter. ''This shows that Radio Clyde is the undisputed number one choice.'' The research also revealed that Johnny Vaughan had lost nearly 400,000 listeners from his Capital FM breakfast show in London since taking over from Chris Tarrant. Tarrant's show this time last year pulled in 1.577 million and in his last three months had dipped to 1.38 million. Vaughan replaced Tarrant at the station in April, but in his first nine weeks his audience slumped to 1.191 million. Capital bosses said they were not worried by the figures. ''When you launch a new show there is always going to be some shedding of audiences as people get used to it, particularly after 17 years of Chris Tarrant,'' a spokesman said. ''We are still the number one show in London, trouncing Chris Moyles on Radio 1 and Terry Wogan on Radio 2.''

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