Evans helps Radio 2 to new high

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Chris Evans saw his audience continue to grow Chris Evans saw his audience continue to grow

Presenters Chris Evans and Ken Bruce have helped BBC Radio 2 to a new record audience with 15.5 million tuning in to the station.

Breakfast host Chris and Ken are among a number of DJs on the UK's biggest station who have seen their own audiences reach an all-time high, new figures have shown.

A boost in listeners for shows such as The Archers and Today has also pushed BBC Radio 4 to a record audience. The highbrow station has reached a new high of 11.21 million, up 4.2 per cent in a year, according to industry measurement body Rajar.

The BBC's once doomed digital-only station 6 Music has also continued to grow with its new audience close to matching the audience for its long-established classical station Radio 3. 6 Music was earmarked for closure in a cost-saving exercise but a backlash and the intervention of the BBC Trust led to it continuing on air and it has now recorded 1.96 million listeners - just 30,000 behind Radio 3 which is available more widely as it is broadcast on FM.

Radio 2 has seen its audience grow by 400,000 listeners in a year to reach its new record level.

Chris's weekday programme now has an audience of 9.82 million which is 3.5 million ahead of Radio 1 rival Nick Grimshaw, who has struggled to match the levels achieved by his predecessor Chris Moyles. Nick has seen his show pile on 700,000 listeners compared to the previous quarter, although he is still down 400,000 listeners compared to this time last year.

Other Radio 2 successes include mid-morning show host Ken Bruce who has 8.37 million listeners, while Jeremy Vine (7.30m), Steve Wright (8.02m) and Simon Mayo (6.14m) have similarly seen their figures hit an all-time high.

Rural soap The Archers saw its audience go up 3 per cent in a year to five million, and heavyweight news show Today, which has taken on new presenter Mishal Husain, was up one per cent year on year to 7.14 million.

Among the station's shows which have achieved their biggest audiences are PM on 4.11 million and The World At One - extended to 45 minutes by Gwyneth Williams when she took over as Radio 4 controller - on 3.7 million.

She said: "I'm thrilled that audiences continue to enjoy Radio 4 and the breadth and depth of programmes that we offer. It is this distinctive and rich mix of programming which appeals to our discerning listeners and attracts extraordinary talent to our airwaves."

The BBC's Asian Network - which was also threatened with closure but reprieved - saw its audience hit a new high with 668,000, which is up a huge 47 per cent in the space of a year.

Radio 1's audience is at 10.97 million marginally down on the 11.09 million listening a year ago.

Bob Shennan, the controller of Radio 2, 6 Music and Asian Network, said the performance of his stations was " outstanding". And he added: "Congratulations to Chris Evans and his team who have built a phenomenal foundation for the rest of the Radio 2 daytime team, all of whom have broken previous best records."

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