RAJAR Results: Slow start for Buzz Asia

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The Litt Corporation’s recently acquired station, Club Asia, rebranded to Buzz Asia got off to a slow start, according to RAJAR listening figures for Q4/09.

The youth targeted station’s weekly reach dipped slightly from its Club Asia days from 188,000 (in Quarter 3) to 167,000 as it stood in the period between October and December 2009.

Buzz Asia officially went live in mid-October and a slow start was expected especially as many listeners had turned off prior to the takeover by the Litt Corporation. With uncertainty surrounding Club Asia’s future, listeners were unaware of the on-air changes as the station had switched to playlisted back-to-back music.

Buzz Asia’s fate will depend on listening figures released in the coming quarters as basing the station’s success/downfall on one quarter’s results can be misleading.

It remains to be seen how much of a success the Litt Corporation can make from the once troubled project. Industry speculation suggests that the radio group paid just over half a million pounds for a four year analogue licence of Club Asia (Buzz Asia).

Overview of Club Asia/Buzz Asia
This time last year: 172,000
As it stands now: 167,000
Difference: – 5,000

National

There was good news for Litt Corporation’s national feed of Sunrise Radio. The station managed to up its audience by 14,000 listeners.

Sunrise Radio was sitting with a weekly reach of 469,000 in Q3/09 and has now been boosted to 483,000. Its listening hours went down slightly from 8 listening hours per person to 6.6 hours.

The BBC Asian Network could only muster up an extra 3,000 listeners in the same period. After delivering disastrous results in Q3/09 with a weekly reach of 357,000, the station managed a reach in the last quarter of 360,000. In the last listener figures the BBC Asian Network lost over 60,000 listeners, a 15% drop from the previous quarter.

Its listening hours too went down from 5.5 listening hours to 5.2 hours, which means listeners were tuning into the station for a shorter period than previously.

The BBC Asian Network has had its fair share of negative press recently. Yesterday BizAsia.co.uk revealed that the station’s future was being reviewed after disappointing listening figures. The review is currently underway and BBC’s Director General Mark Thompson will deliver his verdict at the end of this month.

Over the years, expenditure on the station has increased while listening figures have been unable to match the outgoings. In a result of this, many cuts are likely in jobs and content/programming.

The station is hoping to revive its fortunes with its ongoing programme changes. Next week will see the launch of the BBC Asian Network’s new daytime schedule with Sonia Deol replacing Nikki Bedi on the ‘Mid-Morning Show’ and Tommy Sandhu replacing Jas Rao on ‘Drivetime’.

A BBC spokesman said the figures today were a step in the right direction ahead of the coming schedule changes, “It has been a volatile year for the Asian Network, but the figures are now stable and we hope to build on that with Sonia Deol coming in to present a morning show and Tommy Sandhu on drivetime. We have a clear strategy that we are confident our team of presenters and staff can deliver.”

Overview of Sunrise Radio National
This time last year: 469,000
As it stands now: 483,000
Difference: + 14,000

Overview of BBC Asian Network National
This time last year: 379,000
As it stands now: 360,000
Difference: – 19,000

Local

There was further good news for the Litt Corporation as its regional version of Sunrise Radio lead the way in the Greater London market.

Sunrise Radio added 9,000 new listeners in the sampled quarter, ending December 2009. This was up from the weekly reach of 355,000 in Q3/09 to 364,000 that were listening now. However its listening hours dipped from 8.3 hours to 7 hours at present.

Its sister station, Kismat Radio, which passed the 100k mark in Q3/09 (114,000) had its audience fall quite a lot to 85,000 – a loss of 29,000 listeners. However, its listening hours beat other stations from 6.8 hours in the previous quarter to 10 hours now.

Panajb Radio, which went national on DAB digital radio in December, had a slight drop in its audience figures. It lost 12,000 listeners in the last quarter from 56,000 in Q3/09 to 44,000 in Q4/09. Its listening hours also fell by a margin from 7.3 hours to 5.3 hours. Since Panjab Radio joined RAJAR in Q4/08, the station has lost 5,000 listeners.

Overview of Sunrise Radio London
This time last year: 309,000
As it stands now: 364,000
Difference: + 55,000

Overview of Kismat Radio
This time last year: 67,000
As it stands now: 85,000
Difference: + 18,000

Overview of Panjab Radio
This time last year: 49,000
As it stands now: 44,000
Difference: – 5,000

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

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