http://www.rajar.co.uk/listening/quarterly_listening.php

    It's a RAJAR day - when the radio industry gets its audience figures.

    I must stress that RAJARs are not the be all and end all of matters. Quality, range, impact - all count a great deal. But still - I'd rather they were good than not. And they are.

    We appear to be increasing quarter-on-quarter in microscopic increments - from 9.98 million reach to 9.999. (Reach is defined as the number of people who listen to at least 15 minutes a week). I left here last night uncertain about the theological decency of rounding this up to 10 million. I am told that this is indeed considered to be 10 million. Hooray.

    Share - is a little down quarter-on-quarter - from 12.5% to 12.1% but is still very satisfactory. The average amount of listening per listener is over 12 hours, the most for any BBC network.

    I am not quite sure why we are having such a good RAJAR year. The likeliest answer is the strength of the economic story. R4 did very well early in 2003 when the war with Iraq was happening and also in the quarter of 9/11 so maybe it's that.

    What is clear (to me at any rate) is the strength and depth of R4's coverage of this sort of serious story - and of MPs expenses where we put together some very strong programmes - peppered with exclusive interviews. It was The World at One that had Anthony Steen's extraordinary outburst - and The Report had the first interview from within the House of Commons fees office. Nick Robinson's programme - featuring the first broadcast interview with The Telegraph's editor Will Lewis - gave a terrific insight into the dilemmas of reporting the story.

    And meanwhile - there' s been Smiley (the brainchild of Patrick Rayner in BBC Scotland Drama), Inside the Ethics Committee - one of my favourite factual treats - drama meets ethics - which is on at the moment. And The Odd Half Hour last night at 1830 - and so on.

    The best bit of this job is listening to the programmes.

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