BBC Radio has recorded its biggest lead over its commercial rivals in terms of audience share since the beginning of 1994, writes John Plunkett.
The BBC clocked up a 51.3 per cent share of listening in the fourth quarter of 1999, nearly five points ahead of the commercial sector's 46.7 per cent. In the same period in 1998 commercial radio led the BBC by nearly one per cent.

GWR group programme director Steve Orchard said commercial radio was losing out because new stations were 'cannibalising each other's audience and not targeting the BBC'. He added: 'It's also partly down to the Radio Authority for licensing new operations which are clones of existing radio stations.'

A spokeswoman for the Commercial Radio Companies Association said the commercial sector had maintained its total listening hours and 'given that the BBC has access to a phenomenal amount of free publicity and advertising, we think that's an achievement'.

Full Rajars, page 6.