The latest round of RAJAR results has confirmed the BBC Asian Network as the new leader in the UK Asian radio market, toppling Sunrise Radio from the coveted position.

National

According to data released today for the last three months, ending March 2008, the BBC Asian Network has come up trumps with an overwhelming 535,000 – nearly 100,000 extra listeners tuning, which represents a 21% growth since the last quarter.

It looks like the biggest marketing campaign ever carried out by the BBC Asian Network has paid off. In February, the station promoted itself as ‘The New Sound of Asian Britain’ and saw its brand plastered all over BBC TV, radio, online and various events.

In the last quarter for 2007, the BBC Asian Network had a weekly reach of 441,000, number of hours listening to the station was 5.9 hours, with a 0.3% share in the surveyed area. It now stands with a reach of 535,000, a slight increase in number of hours listeners are tuning in, to 6.3 hours. Its share in the market remained unchanged at 0.3%.

Andy Parfitt, Asian Network, Radio 1 and 1 Xtra Controller said of the figures, “It’s good to see and we’ve got further work to do developing the Asian Network proposition”.

Sunrise Radio, which has retained the numero uno slot in the UK since 2006 has seen only a 4,000 increase in its audience over the last three months. Its weekly reach went up from 510,000 to 514,000, with listeners tuning in for longer – 8.5 hours.

Sunrise Radio, which launched a free-to-air TV channel in February will no doubt use it as a marketing tool for its radio stations.

Local

Sunrise Radio’s broadcast in the Greater London region has witnessed a slight drop in the last quarter. Its weekly reach fell from 358,000 to 341,000. The number of hours listeners tuning in to the station has increased by a mere margin from 7.6 hours to 8.4 hours.

The group’s adult contemporary music led station Kismat Radio has witnessed a 10,000 increase in its audience from 58,000 to 68,000. Further good news for Kismat was its increase in market share from 0.1% to 0.2%.

Its youth music digital-only station Yarr Radio has managed to double its audience in the half yearly results announced by the body. Its weekly reach went up from 9,000 to 18,000 in the last quarter.

London’s Club Asia station has seen the third consecutive drop in its audience in the last quarter. In Quarter 3 of 2007, Club Asia’s reach fell from 223,000 to 216,000, it then went down further in Quarter 4 of 2007 to 201,000. Now the station stands at 197,000 with a share of 0.6% in the surveyed market area.

Since these results other new channels including ZEE Radio and Asian FX have launched in London and the Midlands respectively. How will these affect the statistics for existing radio stations?

It was revealed earlier this week that RAJAR is to trial a new measuring system to move away from the old fashioned diary mechanism. Since 2001, it has invested 3.5m on trialling various electronic audience measurement systems.

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.