Sunrise Radio has trounced its competitor the BBC Asian Network and retains the title as the UK’s most popular Asian radio station, according to latest RAJARs.

National

Figures announced today for the second quarter show Sunrise Radio adding over 100,000 more listeners, in the period ending June 2007. The Avtar Lit radio station now holds an audience of 571,000 compared to the 466,000 it had in the previous quarter. Listening share in the intense ‘national’ market saw it rise by a percent from 0.3% to 0.4%. Sunrise Radio is listened to the same amount of hours as the previous period – 7.6 hours.

Bosses at Sunrise Radio would no doubt be celebrating the RAJAR results, as the station paves to launch nationally on DAB (after it won the licence with Channel 4’s multiplex earlier this year). The publicity surrounding the Ealing political campaign involving former Sunrise Radio Managing Director Tony Lit in June, may have also helped boost listener ratings.

The BBC Asian Network also successfully added on listeners but not to the same extent as its commercial rival. The Asian Network, which in the same period “revamped” its weekend schedule with the addition of new presenters and the relaunched ‘Drive’ show, saw its audience climb from 452,000 (previous quarter) to 455,000 (ending June 2007). The progressive change means its market share remains at 0.2% and it۪s the number of listening hours increase from 5.0% to 5.7%.

A spokesperson from the BBC Asian Network said, “We’re pleased with the stable and sound progress and we want to continue with this.”

Overall commercial radio has been fighting back with the BBC to retain any lost ground from previous quarters. Commercial stations saw their audience share increase 43.5% in the second quarter of 2007, up from 42.1% in the three months prior to this. BBC radio’s share slipped to 54.3% from the last quarter’s record figure of 56%.

With the UK radio market becoming much more intense with newer stations (Sunrise Radio as national, ZEE Radio and even smaller local stations proposing for a larger market reach); the competition for listeners is surely set to pose a threat to existing stations.

With stations looking at innovative programming to better their output, this could only mean good news for consumers. A prime example of a significant change recently has been Sunrise Radio reducing its commercial break time to bring in new listeners and avoid any sort of fatigue setting in.

Regional

London’s popular station Club Asia has also seen a surge in popularity over the last three months. Its audience jumped from 204,000 to 223,000 in this quarter. Its good going for the youthful sounding station, which has faced some stiff competition from Sunrise Radio over time. Its share in the London region has increased also from 0.5% to 0.7%. Its listening hours stand at 7.6.

Further good news for Sunrise Radio shows the station grabbing a large chunk of market share in Greater London with an audience of 425,000. This is up from the previous quarter’s 379,000. Its market share stands at 1.6% and listening hours climbing to 8.3%.

Its sister station Kismat Radio, which is predominantly targeted to an older audience saw a further decline. In the previous quarter, Kismat Radio’s audience fell from over 100,000 to 98,000. Today, its audience has dwindled even more to 66,000. Its listening hours stand at 7.8 hours with a market share of 0.2%.

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.