Radio stations keep Chrysalis on song

Media group Chrysalis hit the right note with investors today after growing radio revenues by 20% since March.

Media group Chrysalis hit the right note with investors today after growing radio revenues by 20% since March.

Chrysalis said its Heart and Galaxy stations were continuing to outperform rivals and it was on track to meet market hopes for the full financial year.

Turnover from its music division grew 23% to £33.3m (€50m) in the six months to February 29, contributing to a 40% rise in pre-tax profits before exceptional items to £1.9m (€2.8m).

Chrysalis said its music division had also been buoyed by a successful relaunch of London’s two LBC stations, which it acquired 18 months ago.

LBC 97.3FM added 250,000 new listeners since the start of 2003, putting it further ahead of rival BBC London and hot on the heels of BBC Radio 4 in the capital.

The profile of the stations was raised by British Prime Minister Tony Blair hosting a phone-in show as part of Labour’s Big Conversation.

Chief executive Richard Huntingford said current trading and the growth record of its radio division generated “plenty of confidence for the future”.

Heart was continuing to keep the pressure on Capital 95.8FM in London, with the latest audience figures showing it had attracted new listeners in the key 25-44 age bracket.

The figures also showed that Birmingham-based Galaxy recorded its highest ever share of listeners aged between 15 and 24.

Chairman Chris Wright said: “Breakfast listening across the network also continued to show growth – despite the intensive marketing activity and hype surrounding the new Chris Moyles breakfast show on Radio 1.”

The company sold its Chrysalis Television arm for £50.8m (€76m) in August as part of a strategy to focus on its radio and music activities.

Chrysalis sold the TV arm to high-flying former ITV chief David Liddiment and Steve Morrison, the ex-head of Granada, in a £51m (€76.5m) management buy-in backed by private equity firm Bridgepoint Capital.

The business produces the Richard & Judy chat show for Channel 4 and the Top Ten programmes.

It also made the Midsomer Murders, two-hour TV movies starring John Nettles for ITV, while its sports unit produces coverage of the Formula One Grand Prix.

In addition to radio, Chrysalis’s music operation counts hit recording artists Feeder and David Gray among those on its books.

An 8% fall in revenues from the division to £36.8m (€55.3m) was cushioned by the success of a Grammy-winning album by rapper Outkast, which has sold almost six million copies worldwide.

Chrysalis launched a mobile ringtone business in March in a bid to tap into the expanding market – worth $1.1bn (€930m) in Europe last year.

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