Entertainment & Arts

Zoe Ball loses 780,000 listeners from BBC Radio 2 breakfast show

Zoe Ball
Image caption Zoe Ball began presenting the Radio 2 breakfast show in January

Zoe Ball has lost 780,000 weekly listeners from her Radio 2 breakfast show, the latest industry figures show.

The presenter took over from Chris Evans in January, after he left the station to join Virgin Radio.

In the second quarter of 2019, Ball's figures fell from 9.05m to 8.27m - but her breakfast show is still the most popular, industry body Rajar said.

Elsewhere, new classical music station Scala Radio, whose presenters include Simon Mayo, reached 250,000 listeners.

But that doesn't seem to have dented the popularity of its main commercial rival Classic FM, which increased from 5.3m in the first quarter of this year to 5.6m in the second.

The other major new station to launch this year - Country Hits Radio - recorded 208,000 listeners in its first three months on air.

Ball's decrease in listeners means Ken Bruce's mid-morning show on Radio 2 becomes the most popular radio programme in the UK, with 8.49m listeners.

Bruce said: "After 34 years as a part of the BBC Radio 2 family, I'm astounded that the allure of my daily grumpy musings, coupled with PopMaster, continue to entertain. Many thanks to the long-suffering listeners."

Image caption Ken Bruce's mid-morning show on Radio 2 is now the most popular radio programme in the UK

BBC Radio 1's Greg James attracted 5.19m listeners this quarter - his highest listening figures since taking over the breakfast show last August.

Nick Ferrari's LBC breakfast show also reached a new record audience of 1.4m, while the station as a whole attracted 2.4m weekly listeners - its best ever figures.

Eddie Mair, who left the BBC last year, has added 120,000 listeners to LBC's late afternoon show since he began presenting it in September 2018.

Another station to reach a new record audience was Kisstory - which attracted 2.32m listeners. As BBC 6 Music dropped to 2.29m this quarter, Kisstory is now the most popular digital-only station in the UK.

Roman Kemp increased Capital's breakfast show audience to 3.8m. This was the first quarter where his show has been broadcast across the whole of the UK.

Previously, each regional Capital station had its own breakfast show, which collectively attracted 3.73m in the previous quarter.

Image copyright Global
Image caption Vick Hope and Sonny Jay co-host the Capital breakfast show with Roman Kemp (centre)

Chris Evans also went up slightly, boosting his audience on Virgin Radio from 1.04m to 1.11m.

Other national breakfast shows which improved their audience included Tom Green and Daisy Maskell (Kiss), Ronan Keating and Harriet Scott (Magic) and Nicky Campbell and Rachel Burden (BBC Radio 5 Live).

The latest figures don't fully reflect Heart's new national breakfast show - as Britain's Got Talent judge Amanda Holden didn't join Jamie Theakston as a co-presenter until June.

Similarly, the recently-launched breakfast show on Hits Radio hosted by Fleur East, Greg and James will post its first listening figures next quarter.

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