As usual lots of ways to approach this quarters RAJAR results but the figures that really caught our eye were Absolute Radio in London, the Capital Breakfast Show, BBC local radio, Heart and Capital National results.

Absolute is starting to fulfil its promise. Its results nationally and especially in London (with a 10% increase) bring it ever closer to the top table. Absolute’s on demand model, on-air-to-online leadership and general market irreverence are a joy to behold.

Capital Breakfast had a bit of a slump as the Dave Berry/Lisa Snowdon ride is starting to look a little variable. But Capital’s Breakfast is resilient and there’s no doom-mongering here.

BBC local radio was a small story but a big story. It slumped by nearly 10%. That’s easy to ignore but 10% across the whole of BBC local is not likely to be a blip – its likely to be a pattern. The tipping point is actually quite simple – commercial radio is now on the local rampage and I’m not sure the BBC has the resource or inner-will to fight back in that arena.

Capital and Heart networks stayed solid but fell back a little – with Capital just shy of the 7 million weekly reach. In a market where BBC local has retreated, it’s disappointing that Capital has less to sell, not more – possibly local commercial radio offerings are the ones truly picking up the BBC’s losses?

Overall radio was down 1% in a traditionally slack quarter – so 9 out of 10 of us listen every week. Digital radio now goes past 30% and Absolute’s rise brings new brand and new flourish to the marketplace. We see fascinating days ahead!

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising agency. @timcradioexpert

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