U.K. urban station BBC 1Xtra has registered its highest audience share to date, attracting over 800,000 weekly listeners in the third quarter, according to the latest RAJAR figures.

The digital network increased its audience from the 600,000 it logged in Q2 2010, while the station's year-on-year growth stood at 47.3%.

Commenting on the RAJAR stats, Ben Cooper deputy controller for BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 1Xtra, said in a statement: "Having strengthened Radio 1Xtra's proposition, I'm delighted to see an increase in the number of younger listeners we are bringing into the BBC via a digital platform."

The RAJAR figures for Q3 also showed that digital modern rock and alternative station BBC 6 Music continued to hold steady, attracting a weekly audience of 1.19 million listeners -- virtually the same figure as in Q2 2010.

BBC 6 Music was under threat of closure earlier this year following management proposals to axe the niche digital station. However, following a heavily publicized campaign supported by U.K. artists Radiohead, Coldplay and Jarvis Cocker, the BBC Trust reversed the decision and station has since steadily grown in popularity.

Commercial digital network Planet Rock saw its audience climb from 718,000 in Q2 2010 to 783,000 in this year's third quarter. Alternative station NME Radio drew a Q3 weekly audience of 257,000, a marginal rise on the Q2 figure of 253,000.

Bauer Media's Smash Hits, meanwhile, drew a weekly average of 1.11 million listeners in Q3, up from 990,000 in Q2. Bauer Media's rock and alternative station Q posted a small increase in weekly listeners, rising from 233,000 in Q2 2010 to 246,000 in Q3 2010.

RAJAR said digital platforms accounted for 24.8% of all radio listening in Q3 -- a slight rise on Q2's 24.6% audience share. Listening figures via DAB radio sets, however, dropped from 15.8% in Q2 2010 to 15.3% this quarter.

On the major FM networks, AC station BBC Radio 2 remains the most popular U.K. station with a weekly reach of 13.6 million listeners, down slightly from Q2's 13.73 million. National Top 40 station BBC Radio 1 also saw a slight drop in weekly audience figures falling from 11.8 million in Q2 2010 to 11.6 million in the latest quarter.

Radio 2's flagship breakfast show hosted by Chris Evans attracted 8.14 million listeners, a decline from 8.48 million in Q2. His BBC Radio 1 counterpart Chris Moyles registered 7.1 million listeners for his daily breakfast show, a decline of over half a million listeners on Q2, by up slightly year-on-year.

The U.K.'s biggest commercial FM station Classic FM held steady on its Q2 weekly audience share, attracting 5.68 million listeners a week.

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