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Radio 1 to air midweek charts show

Radio 1 to air midweek charts show

From March 10 a programme entitled The Official Chart Update will go out on the Greg James show between 3.30pm and 4pm every Wednesday using information drawn from midweek sales flashes for singles and albums.

It is intended as a "teaser" for the station's main Sunday chart show, which airs between 4pm and 7pm, with James outlining the biggest chart stories of the week and counting down either a top 10 or top 20 of singles and albums flashes.

"This is possibly the most significant change to the charts since the inclusion of download data. It could even be the biggest change to the chart in almost 60 years," says OCC managing director Martin Talbot. "It is also about trying to make the chart as relevant to people as possible."

"We believe - and our research shows - that our young audience in particular is into the charts," adds Radio 1 head of music George Ergatoudis. "Digital singles sales we know have been going up over the years

and there have been some really strong stories that have ignited interest in the chart, like the Rage Against The Machine and Joe McElderry chart battle before Christmas."

Radio 1 does not have listener figures for individual shows. However, Ergatoudis says he is confident that the December 20 chart show last year - in which it was revealed that Rage Against The Machine had beaten McElderry to the Christmas number one single - attracted a very large audience.

Statistics for the Radio 1 chart website show that it had 1.93m page impressions in the week up to December 20, compared to an average of around 250,000.

Both Talbot and Ergatoudis believe that the new show can serve as a "call for action" for fans desperate to see their favourite band at number one and will therefore boost sales.

"Three weeks ago, singles by Iyaz and Sidney Samson were neck and neck throughout the week," Talbot explains. "Both sold around 100,000 units. The aim is to use the update on Wednesday to make sure that people go out and buy singles."

"When singles sales have been strong they are often a result of fans actively getting behind their artists," adds Ergatoudis.

The move represents a significant shift in thinking at the OCC, which used to keep midweek sales data close to its chest.

"It is the first time in 60 years that there will be information officially announced about what is going on in the charts," Talbot explains. "One of the problems about the charts is we are in an age when people can buy music as soon as they hear a song. We have got a chart announced on Sunday then you have to wait seven days."

To coincide with the new chart show, Radio 1 will publish the full singles and album updates online at www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/chart and updates will also be made available for use by The Official Charts Company to other licencees.

Ergatoudis says that the station is also planning to rebrand its Top 40 show as "the official chart on Radio 1", to reinforce the idea that the OCC chart is "the historical record".

Meanwhile, the OCC and Radio 1 have signed a new "long-term" deal for the station to use OCC chart data.

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