The latest statistics from radio measuring body are out. In the last three months (ending June 2006), two giants Sunrise Radio and the BBC Asian Network are neck and neck in the fight for ears!

This was a testing time for the BBC Asian Network as it was in this period it transformed its schedule completely with a new Breakfast show, Drive show and tweaks to its weekend programming. And it looks like the changes have worked in favour of the station.

Initial figures reveal that BBC Asian Network’s audience jumped from 427,000 to 444,000 listeners. Its audience share increased also to 0.4%. Further encouraging news for the BBC owned station is that its listeners have begun tuning in longer from 5.5 hours in the previous quarter to 8.3 currently.

So with the Asian Network fighting back in a big way and coming up trumps, the gap between Asian Network and commercial rival Sunrise Radio has narrowed even more.

Saying all that, Sunrise Radio remains the UK’s preferred Asian radio station with 450,000 listeners, a drop of 5,000 listeners compared to the previous quarter. Sunrise Radio has also seen an increase in listening hours. In comparison to the results ending March 2006, Sunrise Radio was listened to at an average of 5.3 hours but in the last quarter that nearly doubled to 9.0 hours on average.

As revealed earlier on BizAsia.co.uk, Sunrise Radio is looking at making quite a few changes with senior presenters from Sunrise being shifted to sister station Kismat Radio. With these poor results from Sunrise Radio, could the station be making the changes sooner than planned?

Sunrise Radio and BBC Asian Network are merely 6,000 listeners apart. So could the lead change in the next quarter? Keep it with BizAsia.co.uk for further updates.

Bob Shennan, Controller, BBC Asian Network said, “The figures show that the BBC Asian Network has had a great start since the relaunch which we are really pleased about, though there is still a long way to go before we see the full effect of the new programmes and schedule”.

Sunrise Radio’s speech and adult contemporary station Kismat Radio has performed exceedingly well in the last quarter. It attracted 98,000 listeners compared to the previous quarter’s 57,000. The station is now also listened to longer (beating sister station Sunrise Radio too!) at an average of 9.3 hours (previous 5.8 hours). Its audience share in the London market has also increased from 0.2% to 0.4%.

Yarr Radio, which has been in revamp mode and unleashed a new look last week may return in the next quarter’s RAJAR results.

Other UK based Asian radio stations such as Radio XL in Birmingham, Sabras Radio in Leicester, Club Asian in London and Asian Sound in Manchester do not subscribe to RAJAR.