Sunrise Radio has come up on top in the latest radio audience figures, resulting in the BBC Asian Network settling for number two in the Asian radio station war.

The RAJAR results, which are released every quarter, have been published today showing both Sunrise Radio and the BBC Asian Network seeing a slight rise in audiences.

Commercial broadcaster Sunrise Radio has added on 43,000 listeners in the quarter ending March 2006. Compared to the period ending December 2005, Sunrise had slipped to 412,000 but now stands firm with 455,000 listeners. Due to intense competition from other broadcasters, Sunrise has seen its audience share fall from 4% to just 2%. Some other disappointing news for the station has come in with number of hours listeners tuning in. Previously in the quarter ending December 2005, Sunrise was listened to for 10.1 hours, which was more than any other Asian radio station (in RAJAR). In the latest set of results, listeners has had its listening hours cut by nearly a half. Average hours listened to Sunrise now is 5.3 hours.

Rival BBC Asian Network, which has been in revamp mode since last month has seen only a marginal increase in its audience. Previously with an audience reach of 420,000 it has added on 7,000 listeners in the last quarter, totalling to 427,000. Like Sunrise Radio, the BBC Asian Network has also seen its audience share fall by 1% from 3% to 2% now. Average hours listeners tuning into the Asian Network in the last quarter remains steady with 7.2 hours compared to the previous 7.8 hours.

The audience gap between Sunrise Radio and the BBC Asian Network has edged even closer. Only 28,000 listeners separate the two old rivals.

The next set of RAJAR results will play a pivotal role in the future of the BBC Asian Network. It has overhauled 90% of its programming. Results for this present quarter will be published in August.

Sunrise Radio owned station Kismat Radio has also witnessed a change in the ratings. Kismat, which is available on 1035AM in London as well on digital has shed 3,000 listeners. Its audience total in the last quarter stood at 57,000. Previously, the station saw a 20% rise but this time around, the speech based station has only seen a rise of 0.1% in its audience share to 0.2%. Average number of hours listening to Kismat has increased also from 4.1 hours to 5.8 hours.

Unsurprisingly, Sunrise Radio’s jukebox station Yarr Radio no longer subscribes to RAJAR. Previously, the station saw a big drop from an audience reach of 37,000 to 29,000 in the quarter ending December 2005.

With the gap between the BBC Asian Network and Sunrise Radio getting closer each quarter and the BBC spending record amount of money in its new schedule, will the results shape up how the station had want it to? The next results will certainly make an interesting read.

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.