By Jason Theodorou

UK radio listening rose to the highest level in over 10 years in the three months to the end of June, with half a million people tuning in to radio stations in the second quarter of 2010 compared to the same period last year. Stations including BBC Radio 4 and Radio 5 Live were buoyed by the World Cup and general election campaign to greatly expand their audiences.

Figures released today by radio measurement body Rajar shows that 46.8 million people listen to the radio at least once a week. The average weekly radio audience was up by close to 500,000, compared with the same period in the previous year, and saw an increase of close to 300,000 on the preceding three months.

As Rajar only began measuring radio audiences with its current system ten years ago, this represents a record high. Commercial radio stations saw a 2% increase in audience share over the BBC, while the BBC retained a larget market share overall. BBC 6Music has doubled its audience, after a high profile campaign to save the station from being axed as part of BBC spending cuts.

Despite Chris Evans losing 1 million listeners between the first and second quarters, BBC Radio 2 remains the nation's favourite station. The most popular commercial station was Heart, with a healthy 7.7 million regular listeners.

The sector is expected to suffer heavily from government spending cuts, as government departments spend a great deal on radio advertising. Industry chiefs are hoping that automotive and finance companies will make up for lost sales.

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