UK media group Chrysalis today said listeners defected from its radio arm in the final quarter of 2004, but claimed the worst of a downturn in advertising was over.
The London-based firm, which runs the Galaxy branded radio stations and Heart 106.2 in the capital, said audience figures fell between October and December.
The group also revealed in a trading statement that there had been volatility in the advertising market during the period. However, it said trading in this market improved in January and February.
A spokeswoman said the group had had “a couple of bad listening figures” towards the end of the year, which she described as disappointing.
However, she played down the impact of the decline, saying it was a national problem being experienced by all commercial radio stations.
“The whole industry has seen an improvement in the national advertising market and it’s finally now confined to the past,” she said.
The company has rebranded its flagship station Heart after recognising a need to appeal to a younger audience.
The spokeswoman said: “We changed the music and made it younger and launched a couple of significant advertising campaigns.”
The firm, which is the UK’s fourth largest radio group, has also hired Jamie Theakston to take over its breakfast show on Heart 106.2 from Easter.
It said revenue expectations for the full year remained in line with the update given at the time of the fourth quarter survey by radio research group Rajar in January.
Elsewhere, the company said its Chrysalis Music division had a good start to 2005, with albums from Feeder, Athlete and Lucie Silvas all selling well.
In what the firm described as “an exciting line up”, more albums and singles are scheduled for release from those acts, as well as Morcheeba, the Engineers and Ray LaMontagne, who has proved popular in America.
Chrysalis Books continued to trade in line with budget and is on target to meet its targets for the year.
The firm is due to announce interim results for the first quarter of 2005 on May 9.